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On January 8, 2002, the No Child LeIt Behind Act oI 2001 was passed by legislation.

This law was a reauthorization oI the Elementary and Secondary Act (ESEA) which was passed
in 1965 as part oI the 'War on Poverty. The Elementary and Secondary Act emphasizes
equality in education Ior all children and it established high expectations oI accountability. It
also helps to provide Iederal Iunding education programs, especially to disadvantaged students. It
was last reauthorized in 1994. Then, in 2002 Congress amended this law and re-passed it as the
No Child LeIt Behind Act (NCLB) ('About the Elementary and Secondary Education Act).
NCLB not only continued to deIine and describe the education programs passed with
ESEA, it also added new accountability mandates that must be met Ior schools to receive their
Iederal Iunding. II schools Iail to meet the new mandates, they could lose their Iunding. The goal
oI NCLB is to close the 'achievement gap between diIIerent demographics oI students. It helps
to have all students at state-determined proIiciency levels by 2014.
To determine how well students are learning, schools are required to test students in
grades 3-8 annually, and once in high school. They are tested on math and reading. Furthermore,
students are tested on science once in elementary school, once in middle school, and once in high
school. Since, education is a state`s right, it is a state`s responsibility to come up with standards
and tests. Then, students are tested using the state`s tests to see iI they pass the state`s standards.
It is every state`s goal to have their standards improve every year. This means that more and
more students need to pass the test every year, so that all students are passing the test by the year
2014. Student progress is monitored by assessing how well each demographic group does on
every test. II any one group Iails to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the whole school
Iails (Dean).
One oI the NCLB- designated demographic subgroups with overall lower achievement
levels are students with disabilities (SWD). Since students with disabilities have been scoring so
low, NCLB has Iocused more attention on the education and assessment oI SWD. However,
there are concerns that NCLB`s impact on SWD has not been completely positive and there are
especially concerns with the way students with disability`s achievement are assessed. These
concerns and some suggested ways to address them once NCLB is reauthorized are addressed
throughout this paper.
Assessment oI student achievement is the primary accountability mandate in NCLB.
NCLB requires each state to develop state standards Ior reading, math and science. Each year
students Irom grades 3 through 8 are tested in reading and math. However, they are only tested
twice in science. Then, students are tested at least once when they reach grades 10-12. States
establish their own proIiciency levels Ior each grade in math and reading. All students are
suppose to reach these proIiciency levels by the year 2014. Another requirement oI NCLB is that
student`s achievement levels improve Irom year to year. This is known as annual yearly progress
or AYP. Each oI the many subgroups, including SWD, within a school are expected to make
AYP. II this is not the case, the school will be considered as in need oI improvement and will be
subject to school improvement eIIorts as well as successive sanctions.
Although students with disabilities are assessed every year in math and reading, like all
the other students, they sometimes have Ilexible guidelines. There are many diIIerent ways SWD
can be assessed. These ways include: a general state assessment, a general state assessment with
accommodations, alternative assessment based on grade-level academic achievement standards,
alternative assessment based on modiIied academic achievement standards, and alternative
assessments based on alternative academic achievement standards. Although there are many
diIIerent tests that SWD can take, not all the diIIerent test options can be counted. For example,
only up to 2 oI all proIicient and advanced scores Irom alternative assessment based on
modiIied academic standards may be counted towards AYP and up to 1 oI all proIicient and
advanced scores Irom alternative assessment based on modiIied academic standards may be
counted towards AYP.
Students with disabilities also receive legal protections under the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IEDA). This act provide students with disabilities, who are eligible,
to beneIit Irom education like all other students. IDEA requires that all public schools are
responsible Ior their students with disabilities. Public schools are held responsible through IDEA
by needing to locate, identiIy, and serve the students who are in need oI special education.
Although IDEA helps some SWD, it is not able to help them all. Special education Ior students
with disabilities is only available when a disability impacts a student so much that they require
additional services. Part oI the extra assistance SWD receive through IDEA is an individual
education plan (IEP). IEPs are a Iree oI charge service Ior Iamilies who have a student with a
disability that help parents become advocates Ior their child. Parents work with educators to
develop an individualized plan Ior their student that describes the goals the team oI parents and
educators have set up Ior the student during the school year. The IEP describes not only the goals
they help students achieve, but any assistance they will need to achieve these goals (lndlvlduallzed
LducaLlon lans 2010).
IDEA and IEPs are very beneIicial Ior the many students in the United States who have
some type oI disability. There are over six million school-ages students and youth who have
some type oI disability (Reder, 2007). There are many diIIerent types oI disabilities with
thousands, iI not millions, oI students per group. For starters, there are many diIIerent types oI
physical impairments that students have. There are 1,456,000 students with a speech or language
impairment, 79,000 students with a hearing impairment, 67,000 students with an orthopedic
impairment, 29,000 students with a visual impairment, 2,000 students who are deaI and blind,
and 641,000 students who have some other type oI health related impairment. There are also
many students who have a mental disability that aIIects their learning. For example, there are
2,573,000 students with a speciIic learning disability, 500, 000 students who are considered to be
mentally retarded and 296,000 students with autism. Moreover, 138,000 students have multiple
disabilities. These are just a Iew oI the many diIIerent types oI disabilities that students have
today (asL acLs)
WlLh so many mllllons of sLudenLs ln our counLry wlLh some Lype of dlsablllLy lL ls lmporLanL look
aL Lhe achlevemenL of SWu ln a naLlonal basls 1o do Lhls lL ls Lyplcal Lo compare Lhe nAL" scores of
sLudenLs wlLh dlsablllLles Lo Lhe nAL" scores of sLudenLs wlLhouL dlsablllLles nAL ls Lhe naLlonal
AssessmenL of LducaLlonal rogress and lL ls a naLlonal LesLlng sysLem LhaL was lnsLlLuLed ln our counLry
even before nCL8 was passed by leglslaLlon nAL LesLs a varleLy of sLudenLs ln grades k12 ln all
conLenL areas ln alLernaLlve years 4
grade nAL LesLlng ls mandaLory for sLaLes recelvlng nCL8
funds 1hls LesL ls consldered Lo be a reasonable and valld LesL by many educaLors 1he assessmenL LesLs
boLh baslc knowledge as well as crlLlcal Lhlnklng skllls When looklng aL Lhe achlevemenL levels of
sLudenLs as a whole lL ls beLLer Lo use nAL daLa over sLaLe LesL daLa because sLaLe LesL daLa ls noL
comparable whlle nAL daLa ls 1hls ls due Lo Lhe facL LhaL nAL ls a naLlonal LesL Lherefore lL ls Lhe
same LesL across Lhe naLlon Cn Lhe oLher hand sLaLe LesLs vary from sLaLe Lo sLaLe slnce sLaLes wrlLe Lhe
LesLs Lhemselves
The data Irom NAEP shows that students will disabilities are doing better, but are still
lower than students without disabilities. For example, in 2000 students with disabilities in 4

grade averaged 198 on the test. However, that same year students without disabilities averaged
228 on the test. This is a big diIIerence oI 30 points. Luckily as time goes by both groups oI
students are doing better on the test. Just last year, in 2009, students with disabilities averaged
221 on the same test and students without disabilities averaged 242 on the same test. Although
the gap decreased to only 21 points, there is still a gap. Just like math, students with disabilities
and students without disabilities are doing better in reading today than they were in 2000.
Furthermore, although the gap has tightened since 2000, there is still a gap between the two
categories. In 2000 students with disabilities averaged 167 on the national 4
grade reading test,
while students without disabilities scored an average oI 217 on the same test. However , in 2009
students with disabilities averaged 190 on the test, while students without disabilities averaged a
score oI 224. This means that the gap between the average scores oI students with disabilities
and students without disabilities went Irom being 50 points apart to being 34 points apart. As
good as it is that the gap between the two subgroups is diminishing, it is a problem that there is
still a gap (Grade 4 National Results). It is crucial that this problem is Iixed.
Many individuals and organizations have identiIied what they believe to be problems
with assessment oI students with disabilities. The Iirst part oI the testing problem is that students
with disabilities are a very heterogeneous group oI pupils and because oI that it is diIIicult task to
come up with an assessment Ior all oI them. SWD is a group oI learners 'who have a wide range
oI academic aptitudes and whose disabilities diIIer in both type and severity. About 40 have
speciIic learning disabilities, about 22 have speech or language impairments, about 8 have
mental retardation, and the rest have visual or hearing impairments, emotional disturbances,
autism, or other disabilities (Center on Education Policy, 2009-2010). Some disabilities do not
need much accommodation on NCLB tests, while students with other disabilities need a whole
new test. For example, students who are visually impaired need straightIorward
accommodations. They would only need a test to be printed in large print, read to them, or be in
Braille (Center on Education Policy, 2009-2010). However, students with mental disabilities are
going to need more accommodation, like easier tests and/or more time. ThereIore, it is not Iair
then to have all students with disabilities taking the same test when not all students with
disabilities are going to have the same cognitive abilities.
Another problem with NCLB testing is that the testing guidelines Ior students with
disabilities under NCLB conIlict with the assessment guidelines Ior students with disabilities
under IDEA. IDEA was signed into law December 3, 2004 by George W. Bush and became
eIIective July 1, 2005 (Alignment with the No Child LeIt Behind (NCLB) Act, 2007). This law
recognizes that all students do not learn at the same rate. IDEA is a Iederal law that governs how
special education services are governed by the state. Part oI the law requires that schools develop
an individual education plan (IEP) Ior all oI their students. The IEP sets individual education
goals Ior all oI its participating students and it deIines which services will be provided to meet
those goals. IDEA and NCLB can be seen as conIlicting policies. NCLB sets an uniIorm goal Ior
all oI its students, while IDEA sets individual goals Ior all oI its students (Center on Education
Policy, 2009-2010). Furthermore, NCLB believes in giving all students the same test and setting
the same goals Ior all students, which goes against IDEA, which believes in giving each student
their own appropriate test and setting individual goals Ior each student. Since the NCBL tests
were designed Ior students without disabilities and students with disabilities usually learn at a
slower pace, students with disabilities will not know as much inIormation on the test. ThereIore,
students with disabilities are less likely to do as well as students without disabilities on the
NCLB test.
Since NCLB sets standard-based goals, students with disabilities are not always able to
achieve these goals. In some schools, the SWD group is the only group in the school to Iail
making AYP. ThereIore, the whole school Iails making AYP, even though all the other
subgroups may have had high achievement. This may lead to some schools and states using a
variety oI diIIerent practices that avoid identiIying and/or assessing SWD. ThereIore, these
schools try to avoid reporting on SWD as a separate subgroup. Since states sometimes use
diIIerent practices to avoid identiIying and/or assessing SWD, it is also hard to compare test
results oI all students with disabilities. It is important that all tests use the same standards Irom
state to state to be able to be able to compare them. Although NCLB tests do base test results oII
standard-based goals, the goals each state uses varies Irom state to state. ThereIore, most states
try to Iind a way to get around their SWD subgroup Iailing AYP. In some schools, school
leaders have spent a considerable amount oI time and energy trying to Iigure out a way to not
have a SWD subgroup anymore. In schools where the number oI individuals with disabilities
was minimal, schools would usually either not identiIy students as having a disability or they
would reIuse these students admission into their schools (Reder, 2007). By reIusing to identiIy
these students as having disabilities or by not allowing students with disabilities into their
schools, schools were able to eliminate this subgroup Irom the many subgroups they needed to
have pass AYP. Schools knew passing AYP would be easier with one less subgroup, especially
since the group they eliminated typically Iailed AYP. In short, since this group oI students is one
oI the most likely groups to Iail AYP, lots oI schools try to get rid oI this subgroup in hopes it
will lower their chances oI Iailing.
Furthermore, it is diIIicult to compare NCLB test results across the 50 states because the
50 states are comprised oI many diIIerent proportions oI the diIIerent subgroups. For example,
not every state has the same percent oI students with a disability. This could partially have to do
with the Iact that some states try to hide the number oI students with disabilities that they have.
However, it is also partially due to the Iact that not every state is going to be the same. It just so
happens that some states are going to have more students qualiIies as having a disability. In the
2003-2004 school year, the percent oI students receiving special educational services ranged
Irom a low oI 10.5 in CaliIornia to a high oI 20.2 in Rhode Island (Cortiella 2009). Due to
the diIIerent percentages oI students with disabilities Irom states to state it can be concluded that
the test results oI SWD Irom state to state will be diIIerent too. It is likely that CaliIornia will do
better in making AYP than Rhode Island since CaliIornia has less SWD, who usually Iail and
thereIore cause a school to Iail. Many schools and states are Iiguring out that they will have a
much easier time oI passing AYP iI they get rid oI their SWD subgroup. So, this is just what
some states are trying to do.
Another reason why it is hard to compare students with disabilities against one another
Irom state to state is because oI the diIIerent standards each state sets. Due to the diIIerences in
the economy Irom state to state, some states have more money to spend on modiIying their tests
to individualize them Ior their students with disabilities. Since these modiIications can help
students with disabilities to do better on the tests, these states can do better on the tests in
comparison to other states, especially states that have not modiIied their tests. For example, a
study was done that showed how alternative tests could help improve a state`s testing results.
The study compared the two neighboring states, Kansas and Nebraska. The study results showed
that because Kansas was able to provide its students with modiIied tests, the total percentage oI
students scoring at the proIicient level was similar to Nebraska`s. II it was not Ior the alternate
tests Kansas would have done exceptionally lower than Nebraska. The percent oI students with
proIicient scores Irom the regular assessment in Nebraska was 74.4, while Kansas was just
47.9. Kansas was able to bring up their total percentage oI students with disabilities scoring
proIicient through the help oI their alternative tests. Kansas had 6.3 oI students with proIicient
scores Irom alternative assessments and alternative standards, while Nebraska only had 3.7.
Furthermore, Kansas had 18.7 oI its students have proIicient scores Irom alternative
assessment and modiIied standards, while Nebraska had 0. This is because Nebraska, like the
majority oI states, had not developed an alternative assessment aligned to modiIied standards.
These Iindings show how some states have an advantage when it comes to testing their students
and how that advantage makes it hard to compare the test results (Center on Education Policy,
In summary, there is a problem with NCLB and how it tests students with disabilities.
Most students with disabilities are tested using tests that are too diIIicult Ior them. Only a small
percentage oI students with disabilities are given individualized tests. These individualized tests
are a result oI NCLB and IDEA coming together. Although it is good students with disabilities
have individualized lesson plans it makes it hard to compare these students with other students,
since the other students take other tests. It also becomes diIIicult to compare students with
disabilities with other students when schools and states try to identiIy their students with
disabilities as not having disabilities or reIuse to let students with disabilities into their schools.
Both oI these are ways to try to reduce the chances oI Iailing AYP. It also becomes diIIicult to
compare students with disabilities with other students Irom other states because oI the Iact that
all states have diIIerent tests. Furthermore, the Iact that some states have more money to put into
making modiIied tests helps these states be able to raise their scores, but makes them hard to be
able to compare with states that do not have the money to make alternative tests.
Although it is impossible to make NCLB perIect there are some ways to help it improve.
It is important to align NCLB and IDEA data systems and deIinitions. 'NCLB and IDEA require
data collection and reporting on various student outcomes and program characteristics, but the
laws use diIIerent deIinitions and reporting Iormats, which should be brought into closer
alignment so that states, districts, and schools are not duplicating data collection eIIorts
(National Council on Disabilities, 2008). II the conIlicting ideas between NCLB and IDEA could
be compromised both could be improved. NCLB could also be improved iI it tested students with
disabilities on subjects other than just math and reading. For students with disabilities it is harder
Ior them to develop liIe skills, and it would help these students to succeed in liIe iI teachers
taught them more liIe skills, like riding the bus and living on their own, and then testing them on
those skills. Finally, more money needs to be put into special education. Special education is a
part oI education that can be overlooked, but needs all the help it can get. So iI more money was
put into better special education teachers and IEPs, students with disabilities could go Iarther in
liIe and do better on NCLB tests (National Council on Disabilities, 2008).
Obama has his own ways to go about reconstructing NCLB and making it better Ior
SWD. Obama`s plan states:
While the primary Iunding Ior programs speciIically Iocused on supporting
students with disabilities is through the Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act, the ESEA reauthorization proposal will increase support Ior the inclusion and
improved outcomes oI students with disabilities. The proposal will help ensure
that teachers and leaders are better prepared to meet the needs oI diverse learners,
that assessments more accurately and appropriately measure the perIormance oI
students with disabilities, and that more districts and schools implement high-
quality, state- and locally determined curricula and instructional supports that
incorporate the principles oI universal design Ior learning to meet all students`
needs (Diverse Learners).
In my opinion, there is no way to make NCLB perIect. However, there are lots oI ways to
improve it. I really believe that students with disabilities should not all be tested the same.
Students with disabilities learn at diIIerent rates than regular students, so it is unIair to test them
like they learn at the same rate. I believe that all students should have their own IEPs to help set
doable goals and Iind ways to accomplish these goals. I understand that it is important to see how
well students compare with other students, but I think it is more important to see how students
compare with themselves over the years. So, iI the government wants to see how students with
disabilities compare against other students they could have part oI the test be standardized, but
not the whole thing. As long as individual students are improving, that is all that matters. I also
believe that it is important to test students on liIe skills. Students with disabilities might use math
and reading in their everyday lives, but it is more likely they will use liIe skills, like riding the
bus and living on their own, so these are better skills to teach them and test them on. HopeIully
as time goes on and with new administration, some oI these changes can be made.

"About the Elementary and Secondary Education Act." 11ice o1 Superintendent o1 Public
Instruction . State oI Washington , n.d. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

"Alignment with the No Child LeIt Behind (NCLB) Act." Building the Legacy. IDEA 2004.
Department oI Education, 2 Feb. 2007. Web. 29 Sept. 2010

Center on Education Policy, 2009-2010, State Test Score Trends Through 2007-08: Has
Progress Been Made in Raising Achievement Ior Students with Disabilities?
Cortiella, Candace. "Rewards & Roadblocks." ational Center 1or Learning Disabilities . N.p.,
26 Mar. 2009. Web. 29 Sept. 2010.

Dean, Shelia. N.d. Power Point Iile.

"Diverse Learners." The Department o1 Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

"Fast Facts." ational Center 1or Education Statistics. U.S. Department oI Education Institute oI
Education Sciences, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

"Grade 4 National Results." The ations Report Card. NAEP, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

"Individualized Education Plans." The emours Foundation. N.p., 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2010.

National Council on Disability, 2008, The No Child LeIt Behind Act and the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act: A Progress Report

Reder, Nancy D. "Accountability Ior Students with Disabilities ." File last modiIied on May

ProIessional Teaching Standard #11
NCLB Paper is an ArtiIact Ior This Standard Ior the Assessment PortIolio

11F is Iamiliar with the rights oI students with disabilities.

Write a paragraph explaining your knowledge and understanding o1 that standardput the
standard into your own words
I think this standard wants me to know that students with disabilities have diIIerent rights
than other students do. It wants me to become Iamiliar with those rights, so that iI I have a
students with a disability in my classroom I will know what rights they are entitled to. This way I
can Iight Ior them to make sure they receive all the help they should be receiving.

2 Explain how the arti1act you chose demonstrates your understanding and application

o1 the standard
The artiIact that I chose demonstrates my understanding and application oI this standard because
it talks about some oI the rights that students with disabilities are entitled to. This artiIact talks
about some oI the beneIits oI IDEA. One oI these beneIits is the Iact that every student with a
disability is entitled to an IEP. I knew a little about IEPs, but aIter this artiIact I know more oI
how they help students. I know now that the IEPs set goals Ior students and ways in which those
goals should be met. So now when I have students in my classroom that have disabilities I know
that they will need to have an IEP.

A I1 the arti1act has been used in your practice, re1lect on how your teaching will

change in the 1uture to 1urther meet the standard

B I1 the arti1act has not been used in your practice, ie, a class assignment, re1lect

upon how your teaching will be impacted by the assignment
I know that in some oI the classroom I worked in a Iew oI the students in the class had an IEP.
So, I brieIly knew about them Irom that. However, aIter writing this paper I Ieel like I understand
a little more oI how IEPs help students. I deIinitely did not know that IEPs were mandatory Ior
students with disabilities because oI IDEA. Since, I know more about IEPs now, I Ieel like I will
be more aware oI the diIIerences in what work students with IEPs have to do and what they do
not have to do. Plus, I think I will be more aware oI possibly having to change my lesson plans to
Iit my students with disabilities` IEPs.

4 Conclude with a paragraph discussing how you are more prepared to Teach and
Learn in a Diverse Society as a result o1 satis1actorily meeting the standard
I Ieel like I am more prepared to teach and learn in a diverse society now because I more aware
oI what goes on in the classroom. I Ieel that I am now more aware oI how the way and rate oI
students learning varies and how it will be hard to set a uniIorm test Ior all oI my students. I now
know that I am going to have to make a lot oI modiIications in my classroom to be able to
accommodate all oI my students.