« National Federation of Blind Sues PARCC Over Field Test | Main | Graduation Rate for Mississippi Students With Disabilities Under the Microscope »

Education Department Official Reaffirms Commitment to Grade-Level Testing

Students with disabilities should be taught to rigorous academic standards, said Deborah S. Delisle, the education department's assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, in a press conference with reporters on Thursday. 

Delisle's comments came in response to a question from Joy Resmovits of the Huffington Post, who asked department officials about a proposal in New York to test certain students with disabilities up to two grades below their chronological grade level. This request is part of the state's renewal of its waiver from No Child Left Behind standards. 

Delisle said that the department hasn't received anything from New York yet; the comment period for the waiver proposal ended on Monday. But, she said, the department has deliberately moved away from testing students with disabilities on modified standards. In previous years, the Education Department has allowed 2 percent of all students—about 20 percent of students with disabilities—to be tested on modified achievement standards and be counted as proficient under NCLB. The department has said it is no longer going to allow such tests.

(A separate regulation allows 1 percent of all students—about 10 percent of students with disabilities—to be tested on "alternate achievement standards." That regulation, which is intended for students with severe cognitive disabilities, remains unchanged.)

"We have heard from many support groups around special education students that they want their children to have access to high-quality standards and not have their education diminished in some regard by teaching to lower standards," Delisle said. Listen to all she had to say on the topic here:

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • sdc teach: I agree with the previous post regarding the high cost read more
  • Jason: That alert is from 2001. Is there anything more recent read more
  • Vikki Mahaffy: I worked as a special education teacher for 18 years read more
  • paulina rickards: As it relates to this research I am in total read more
  • Anonymous: Fully fund the RTI process. We are providing special education read more