Assessments Under ESSA: Implications & Considerations for High School Students with Disabilities

Equal access and opportunity in education for students with disabilities is the foundation of our civil rights and special education laws. And as laws and policies continually change, these are the principles against which we measure them.

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) – signed into law in December 2015 – created many new opportunities for schools to rethink and improve learning experiences for students. One important change the law made was to allow students in high school to take college entrance exams – like the SAT or the ACT – in place of their state’s assessments.

The idea to use one test for two purposes – for college admissions and state accountability requirements – seems like it would be beneficial to students. But this presents some key issues for students with disabilities, who often have difficulty getting the accommodations they need for college admissions tests. And even when students do get accommodations, their scores are sometimes invalidated by the testing company.

So before states or districts choose to use the SAT and ACT in place of their state assessment, there are key considerations policymakers and school leaders must consider. NCLD and the Center of Assessment partnered to explore these issues and create a resource to help states and districts make the right decisions for students with disabilities.

Read High School Assessments for Students With Disabilities in the Era of the Every Student Succeeds Act to learn more about the steps that state and local policymakers and parents can take to ensure students with disabilities can fully participate in these new tests.

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