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Ed. Dept. Finds Areas to Improve in Review of Common-Core Test Accessibility

Both of the consortia tasked with creating assessments for the Common Core State Standards have made progress but need to work on accommodations and accessibility, according to a recent technical review conducted by the U.S. Department of Education.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, should consider expanding the training it provides test-item writers in the area of accessibility and accommodations, the department review panel wrote in a recently-released memo. PARCC, which comprises 21 states and the District of Columbia, recently released the first edition of its accommodations and accessibility manual, which is meant to guide school teams in figuring out the type of test assistance that is appropriate for students with disabilities. Technical reviewers from the Education Department said they appreciated seeing the manual.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, made up of 25 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands, was told that it should increase the involvement of special education experts in the test development process. The consortium was praised for incorporating universal design into the item writing process.

My colleague Catherine Gewertz, who covers all things Common Core, has an expanded post on this technical review at her blog, Curriculum Matters.

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