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Inclusion of Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners

“In 2017, about 90% of students with disabilities and English language learners in fourth and eighth grades were assessed in the NAEP mathematics and reading assessments."

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), 2017 Mathematics and Reading Assessments

It is important for NAEP to assess as many students selected to participate as possible. Assessing representative samples of students, including students with disabilities (SD) and English language learners (ELL), helps to ensure that NAEP results accurately reflect the educational performance of all students in the target population, and can continue to serve as a meaningful measure of U.S. students’ academic achievement over time. 

In March 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), working with the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB), adopted a new policy to maximize the participation of students with disabilities (SD) and English language learners (ELL). 

Today, NAEP continues to explore ways to ensure consistent, inclusive assessment and reporting across all jurisdictions and student populations.

Available Accommodations for SD/ELL Students

Accommodations in the testing environment or administration procedures are available for SD and ELL students to support their participation in the assessment. Some accommodations are actually built-in features—or Universal Design Elements--of the digitally based assessments that are available to all students. Other accommodations, such as additional test time, are available upon request. Every jurisdiction decides what accommodations the students in that jurisdiction are eligible to receive.

Survey Questionnaires

NCES collects information about accommodations needed for SD and ELL students in order to examine the relationship between inclusion and the assessment and to inform inclusion decisions for students. NAEP obtains this information by asking the school staff (principal, assistant principal, special education teacher, bilingual education/ESL teacher, or classroom teacher) most familiar with each SD or ELL student participating in an assessment to complete the appropriate survey questionnaire or worksheet. Explore SD and ELL survey questionnaires/worksheets.

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Exclusion Rates

Some SD and ELL students can be assessed without accommodations. Some require accommodations to participate in NAEP, while others may not be able to participate even with accommodation. The percentage of SD and ELL students who are excluded from NAEP assessments varies across assessment subjects, from one jurisdiction to another, and within a jurisdiction over time. See percentages of inclusion or exclusion of SD and ELL students for the nation, by jurisdiction, and by participating districts for assessments since 1992.

Last updated 23 July 2018 (FC)