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More Special Needs Students Taking NAEP, But Some Exclusion Rates Still High

I wanted to revisit the recent NAEP results one more time, this time with an eye toward the federal push for states to meet inclusion targets for students with disabilities and English-language learners. Basically, most states did boost their representation of these populations in the latest round of math and reading testing, but many still have far to go to reach the inclusion targets, my colleagues Lesli Maxwell and Nirvi Shah report in an EdWeek story posted today.

Overall, they note, the numbers of 4th and 8th grade students who took the NAEP and were identified as having a disability or being an English-language learner rose in 2011, continuing a trend that began more than a decade ago when NAEP began allowing students to use accommodations, such as additional time, when taking the exams.

Among the states with high exclusion rates, and where the figures actually climbed, the story says, are Kentucky and Oklahoma.

In Kentucky, for instance, 63 percent of the 4th graders identified as English-learners in the state's testing sample were excluded from the reading assessment in 2011, up 20 percentage points from two years ago. Among the targeted test-takers in Oklahoma, 60 percent of 8th graders identified as having disabilities were excluded from the math exam, as were 51 percent of 4th graders. The Oklahoma numbers represent double-digit increases over the exclusion rates in 2009.

For more analysis of the Kentucky situation, check out this blog post from Richard Innes at the Bluegrass Institute.

For the big picture on the latest NAEP results, see our recent EdWeek story. Also, we followed up here by highlighting some of the reaction.

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