Paper on Special Education and NCLB

Special Education and NCLB

Chapter 1

Introduction

Education in America has experienced many changes over the years in an attempt to be academically competitive with other nations. Our country was founded upon many values, one of them being education. As early as 1642, laws regarding education existed. Education became valued because of necessity with the settlers in the early colonies. Settlers were required to be able to follow and understand the written codes they were living under. Parents were to ensure their children knew the laws of the land and principles of their religion. Parents were responsible for their children’s competence in basic reading and writing. The belief was that if everyone had the basic ability to read and write, they could understand and abide by the laws of the commonwealth. Formal education at this time did not exist, but parents were accountable for educating their children to be productive citizens. If parents did not provide adequate instruction to their children in preparation for their next stage in life, the children would be removed from the home and placed somewhere they would. Formal education evolved from these basic principles (Matzat, 2004). No exceptions were made for those with learning disabilities, either one learned and fit into society or one was removed from society.

With the development of education in America, educators soon realized some students did not learn as well as others. This realization eventually led to the development of “special” classrooms and teaching for “special” students. The basic assumptions for these students were to teach them a trade or skill and move them into the working world, not worrying excessively about grades or test scores.

Recently, education in America has recognized these “special” students as more than just people to be moved into the working world. An entire field of teaching, with specialized training, was developed to address the needs of these students with disabilities. These students were held to a different, often lower, level of achievement from regular education students. Students with disabilities could conceivably graduate from high school without meeting minimum standards required for other students, including standardized testing.

The Problem

Students with disabilities must be included in the assessment system required under NCLB (No Child Left Behind Act). NCLB implies that when students with disabilities are part of the accountability system, educators' expectations for these students are more likely to increase. Under the reauthorization of NCLB, all students will be assessed. ARD committees can no longer exempt students from assessment and state developed alternative assessments are no longer an option. Beginning with the 2008 TAKS administration, every Texas student will take a form of TAKS and only a small percentage of special education students can take an alternate form of the test.

Statement of the Problem

Will special education students score the same on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), TAKS Accommodated, or TAKS M (Modified) as they did on SDAA and SDAA II?

Importance of the Study

This study is important to special education students, their parents, and the ones responsible for their education across the state of Texas. Special education students are facing expectations to perform at the same level as others in their grade. Students in third grade, fifth grade, and eighth grade must pass the assessment in order to advance to the next grade.

Parents will want to know if the expectations placed on their children are realistic. Parents are who vote law makers into their positions of power. If the expectations of the current law are unrealistic, parents can use their voice and, more importantly, their vote to let the law makers know this legislation is not working. If the expectations are realistic, parents can use their voice and vote to show their approval of the law makers.

Due to the current legislation, many school districts have implemented full inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Teachers will be held accountable for the performance of special education students. If the goals are unrealistic for special education students, teachers will want to know this information in order to adequately address the educational needs of these students.

This study closely relates to the educational laws governed by NCLB. Federal and state law makers will find this study important because it will let them know if the current legislation has any chance for success. Legislatures can evaluate if the current law is adequate or if reforms need to be made.

Objectives of the Study

The objectives of this study were: (1) To determine if special education students will score at the same percentage levels on the TAKS as they did on SDAA and (2) To determine if special education students will score at the same percentage levels on TAKS as they did on SDAA II.

Hypothesis

The following hypothesis was tested in this study:

Hypothesis
Special education students will score significantly lower percentages on the TAKS than they did on SDAA or SDAA II.

Delimitations
Information for this study was collected from the internet and Texas Education Agency manuals in the spring of 2008. The participants in this study included twenty eighth grade special education students who have been enrolled in Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD since the third grade. Participants test scores from the previous five years including SDAA and SDAA II will be compared to test scores from the 2008 administration of TAKS. This study was completed in 2008 upon receipt of participant test scores.

Definition of Terms

For clarity of the study the following terms will be defined:
1. ARD- Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee, administrators, teachers, parents, and diagnosticians responsible for the development of special education students Individual Education Plan (IEP).
2. Essential Elements- The most critical educational requirements outlined by the Texas Education Agency.
3. Sputnik- first artificial satellite launched into outer space by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

Basic Assumptions

During this study the researcher made a few basic assumptions. First, students gave consistent effort each year they were tested. Second, it was assumed that students were taught the goals and objectives outlined in their IEP.

Summary

Education has continually changed over the last four hundred years. The driving force in education today is standardized testing. In Texas, the standardized test is the TAKS. Recent federal and state legislation has made passing the TAKS mandatory for all students, including special education students, in Texas public schools. Almost overnight, special education students are expected to pass grade level assessments regardless of their academic ability. If it can be determined that special education students scored significantly lower on the TAKS than they did on the SDAA and SDAA II, law makers may reassess the current standards applied to the TAKS.

Organization of the Study

The remainder of this study is divided into 4 chapters. Chapter 2 will involve a review of related literature. Chapter 3 will explain the method of research used in the study. Chapter 4 will include the results of the study. Chapter 5 will contain a summary of the study with conclusions and recommendations.

Chapter 2

Review of Literature

According to research and studies conducted, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 has received mixed reviews. Some hail its inception as the savior of education in America while others tout it as the death of education in America. This review of literature will focus on articles and reports studying the effectiveness of the NCLB Act of 2001.
History of Education in America

With the Massachusetts Law of 1647, what was once considered a necessity became a social requirement. Towns that had 50 or more families were required to hire a teacher for the instruction of basic reading and writing. If the town had more than one hundred families they were to hire a teacher that would prepare the children to attend Harvard College. These requirements began to pave the way for a modern education system in America. Education and literacy became part of the American Dream. Literacy was a goal of our founding fathers and one we continue to struggle with today almost 400 years later (Matzat, 2004).

Rise of Standardized Testing

In the 1920s, testing to measure intelligence and personality traits was used in schools, industry, and the military. With the onset of the Great Depression, an even greater emphasis was placed on individual assessment. Individual assessments were used to assess individual skills and aptitude. State guidance directors were appointed during this time to develop and coordinate testing programs (Myrick, 2003).

Beginning with the launch of Sputnik in 1957, our nation came to realize that we were no longer on the forefront. When scrambling to find answers to how this could happen, our nation realized that our schools were failing to teach students to their full potential. America realized that our country was falling further and further behind in the academic skills of reading, writing, science, and mathematics. This began the upward spiral of standardized testing of students in American public schools (Moriarty, 2002)

Over the years, assessments have been used to set the standard for students in the public schools of the United States. Standardized testing became a tool used to measure accountability of education in schools across the nation. In 1983 our nation completed an eighteen month study led by the education secretary, Terrell Bell. A Nation At Risk: THE IMPERATIVE FOR EDUCATIONAL REFORM, pushed American educators toward serious reform. The report indicated that twenty-three million adults and thirteen percent of 17 year olds were considered functionally illiterate. American students were found to not be spending enough time on school work leading to more illiteracy across our nation. Many Americans could not read well enough to find or keep a good job. As a result, America’s competitive edge in the global market economy was suffering. The results of this study led to the review and possible changes to the basic American curriculum (Scherer, 1983).

Standardized Testing in Texas

The state of Texas developed its own educational assessment. The state believed that academic programs needed to have certain integrity to develop minimal standards and be held accountable to those standards (Jaschik, 2007).

In 1979 TABS (Texas Assessment of Basic Skills) became the first “high stakes” accountability assessment of basic student competencies in reading, math, and writing in the state of Texas. Students in third grade, fifth grade, and ninth grade were required to participate in the assessment. In 1983 retesting became a requirement of students in ninth grade and beyond not passing the test. Passing the TABS was not a requirement for students to graduate but results were submitted to the state (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

Texas legislators developed the TEAMS (Texas Educational Assessment of Minimal Skills) to replace the TABS test beginning in the 1985-1986 school year. Students in first grade, third grade, fifth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade, and eleventh grade, were administered the assessment of minimal skills in reading, writing, and math. Beginning in 1987, students were required to pass TEAMS as a requirement for graduation and receipt of a diploma (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

TAAS (Texas Assessment of Academic Skills) was introduced in 1990 assessing academic skills outlined by the states essential elements. TAAS began a criterion referenced program addressing higher order thinking and problem solving skills. Students in third grade, fifth grade, seventh grade, ninth grade, and eleventh grade, were assessed in reading, writing, and math. Eleventh grade students assessment served as an exit level exam. More rigorous consequences were implemented with the TAAS for individual students, schools, and districts across the state (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

In 1992-1993, TAAS underwent some fine tuning. The administration of the test moved from fall to spring. During the 1993-1994 school year, the TAAS expanded to include all students in third grade through eighth grade in reading and math. Fourth grade and eighth grade students were tested in writing and the exit level test moved from eleventh grade to tenth grade (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

In 1993 the Texas legislature enacted a new statewide accountability system. Schools were no longer the primary source of diagnosing individual student performance. The TAAS would include a state level evaluation of individual student performance and the accountability of campuses and districts. The inclusion of TAAS in the accountability system, the public release of performance results, and the exit-level requirement for graduation makes TAAS the most “high stakes” assessment, up to this point, in Texas history (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

The 76th legislature mandated a more rigorous assessment and ended social promotion in 1999. The development of the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) was underway by TEA (Texas Education Agency). Students would be expected to pass the TAKS in grades three, five, and eight in order to be promoted to the next grade. Students in the eleventh grade were expected to pass the TAKS in order to graduate with a high school diploma. The first administration of the TAKS was given in the spring of 2003 (Texas Education Agency, n.d.).

Beginning with the administration of TABS in 1979 and continuing throughout the administration of TEAMS, TAAS, and the development of TAKS, school districts would often exempt special education students from state assessments. TEA recognized a need for an alternative assessment for special education students. The SDAA (State Developed Alternative Assessment) was developed to fill that need for special education students in third grade through eighth grade. The first administration of the SDAA was the spring of 2001. SDAA results were reported with the state accountability system beginning in 2003. ARD committees would determine what assessment would be appropriate for each individual student. Students could take the SDAA on the grade level of their IEP, not necessarily their grade placement. If TAKS or SDAA were not appropriate for a special education student a LDAA (Locally Developed Alternative Assessment) could be given. The SDAA II was developed to be more closely aligned with the TAKS. It was developed with an advisory committee and teachers from across the state. SDAA II and LDAA continued to be the assessments given to special education students until the current development and revision of the TAKS (Texas Education Agency, 2005-2006).

No Child Left Behind Act of 2001

On January 8, 2002, President Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 into legislation.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a reform of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which was enacted in 1965. It redefines the federal role in K-12 education and attempts to close the achievement gap between disadvantaged and minority students and their peers. It is based on four basic principles: stronger accountability for results, increased flexibility and local control, expanded options for parents, and an emphasis on teaching methods that have been proven to work (Myrick, 2003, p. 59).

Several reauthorizations have taken place since the bill was first introduced in 2001. In 2007, the most recent reauthorization of the act took place. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings made the following statement "This new act retains the solid foundation we've laid and incorporates lessons we've learned in the last five years” (Spellings, 2007).

Highly Qualified Teachers

NCLB recognizes the importance of having effective teachers and states that teachers in core academic areas must be “highly qualified” by the end of the 2006-2007 school year (ASHA, 2007). To be highly qualified, a teacher must have the minimum of a bachelor’s degree, full state certification, and demonstrate subject-matter competency in the core academic subjects assigned.

Subject-matter competency, the third requirement, can be demonstrated at the elementary level by passing the appropriate ExCET/TExES or by meeting the High Objective Uniform Standard of Evaluation (HOUSE). Competency can be demonstrated at the secondary level by passing the appropriate ExCET/TExES, meeting HOUSE, or holding an academic major or the equivalent in the subject taught (Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE), 2007, Demonstrating subject-matter competency ¶ 1). All teachers of core subjects, elementary or secondary, all Title I teachers, teachers of English language learners, and special education teachers must be highly qualified.

This created a panic among schools across the state. Many schools are blanketed Title I, requiring every teacher to be highly qualified. Special education teachers and teachers of English language learners were practicing pull out programs to teach core subjects to students. Elementary teachers’ certifications are for elementary generalist and usually one specialized subject. Special education teacher’s certifications cover early childhood through twelfth grade. The problem presented to these teachers by NCLB was they were teaching specialized subjects. If a teacher teaches math, English, and reading, they are required to be certified to teach each subject they teach by passing appropriate ExCET/TexES exams, or meeting HOUSE. To meet HOUSE they must have 24 points of a formula through years of experience, college course work or professional development (ATPE, 2007).

Due to these high demands of accountability, many school districts have implemented full inclusion of students with disabilities in general education classrooms, regardless of whether it is the most appropriate placement for individual children. Special educators help general classroom teachers adapt instructional strategies and support the instruction that takes place in general education classrooms. Only teachers of record have to be highly qualified. Teachers of record are those teachers that give the assignments and issue the grades. If a special education teacher provides consultation to the teacher of record, reinforces instruction that the child has already received from a HQT, makes adaptations to assignments, or provides supplemental help to students in or out of the classroom, they may not have to be highly qualified.

Teachers are among the lowest paid professionals resulting in a shortage across our nation. It is no wonder when “we put extraordinary pressure on individual teachers with heavy class loads, assign them a wide variety of children with special needs, provide little available support, and then complain about them if their students perform poorly on test” (Gallagher, 2004, ¶ 3).

Adequate Yearly Progress

“The centerpiece of NCLB is the AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress). requirement, which is currently driving (and plaguing) efforts in many schools across the nation” (Cochran-Smith, 2005, ¶ 5). All public school districts, campuses, and the state are evaluated annually for AYP. All students in grades 3-8 and 10 must be tested in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics; with standards increasing over time to reach 100 percent by 2013–14. Schools not meeting these standards for two years are categorized as “needing improvement”. If a school is found “needing improvement”, it must give students the option of moving to another school. Schools not meeting these standards for more than two years will be determined as “failing”. Failing schools are subject to progressive sanctions, including mandatory provision of vouchers for supplemental educational services, withdrawal of federal funds, reconstitution (replacing faculty), and restructuring (state takeover or imposed private management) (Cochran-Smith, 2005, ¶ 5).
These requirements have put pressure to compete, punishments for failure, and shame on teachers and students across our nation forcing teachers to put aside their curricula to prepare their students to take these “high stakes” tests (Gallagher, 2004).

All students, African American, Hispanic, White, economically disadvantaged, special education, and Limited English Proficient (LEP) student groups must meet the same performance and participation standards (Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Guide, 2007). Districts, campuses, and the state are evaluated on three indicators for AYP:

Reading/English Language Arts, Mathematics, and one other indicator… For Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics (Grades 3–8 and 10, summed across grades), for all students and each student group that meets minimum size requirements, districts and campuses must meet the performance standard or performance improvement, and the participation standard. The performance standard is based on test results for students enrolled for the full academic year. The participation standard is based on participation in the assessment program of all students enrolled on the day of testing (Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Guide, 2007, p. 15).

In addition to Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics, districts and campuses are required to meet the AYP standard on one other indicator—either Graduation Rate or Attendance Rate (Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Guide, 2007). “NCLB defines teacher quality and student learning solely in terms of students’ test scores as gauged by whether schools are or are not meeting AYP goals” (Cochran-Smith, 2005, ¶ 7).

Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills

The general assessment for meeting AYP in the state of Texas is TAKS. TAKS is used to measure students’ mastery of the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), the state-mandated curriculum, for the grade enrolled. This assessment is administered to the majority of students across the state. TAKS includes alternate forms for students that meet special education eligibility requirements for certain accommodations (Texas Student Assessment Program, 2007-2008).

Accommodations are intended to reduce the effects of a student’s disability or limitation without reducing the learning expectations and must not invalidate the test. Presentation accommodations allow students to have an alternate format to regular print. Response accommodations are those that allow students to complete the assessment using a method other than paper and pencil. Setting accommodations change the location or conditions, which the assessment is given. Accommodations are practiced routinely in and out of the classroom (Texas Student Assessment Program, 2007-2008).

Beginning with the 2008 TAKS administration, every Texas student will take a form of TAKS. Students that meet special education eligibility requirements may take the TAKS, TAKS Accommodated, TAKS- M (Modified), or TAKS-Alt (Alternative). TAKS Accommodated contains the same assessment items as the TAKS without the embedded field-test items. The font is larger and there are fewer test items on a page. TAKS-M is an alternate assessment for students served by special education. TAKS-M covers the same grade level content as TAKS, but the format has been modified with larger font, more white spaces, fewer answer choices, simpler vocabulary and sentence structure. TAKS-Alt is an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students served by special education with significant cognitive disabilities. This assessment requires teacher observations of student performance of activities designed by the teacher. Teachers score the students performance using a TAKS-Alt rubric provided by the state and report the results online. Only two percent of a district’s enrollment can take the TAKS-M and one percent can take the TAKS-Alt. The TAKS-Alt assessment is on going through a seven-month window with specified dates for submission of results (Texas Student Assessment Program, 2007-2008).

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Access to a free, quality education is the key to American education, a promise of equal opportunity for all. This promise was made to children with disabilities with the passage of the1975 landmark federal legislation now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (National Education Association [NEA], 2007). IDEA requires that the local educational agency, in the state of Texas the ARD committee, develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each child with a disability. This document describes the educational, developmental, and behavioral supports that the child will receive.

Students with disabilities under NCLB

Students with disabilities must be included in the assessment system required under NCLB. NCLB implies that when students with disabilities are part of the accountability system, educators' expectations for these students are more likely to increase. IDEA requires that the IEP include a description of how the child will be assessed, not whether the child will be assessed. NCLB appears to contradict that requirement because under the reauthorization of NCLB, all students will be assessed. ARD committees can no longer exempt students from assessment and state developed alternative assessments are no longer an option. Under the guidelines of IDEA, ARD committees are supposed to individualize the education and assessment for students with disabilities. Therefore, these students are being forced to take assessments on grade level with limited accommodations (Thompson & Barnes, 2007). “The procedures for including students with disabilities in AYP calculations must also be clarified to ensure these students are treated fairly and are held to high standards” (Thompson, 2007, p. 6). Prior to this year, alternate assessments were given on the grade level the child was academically performing. The ARD committee set achievement levels prior to the test administration. Now, almost literally over night, theses students are expected to test on the same level as everyone else in their grade.

President Bush on Education

President Bush stated, “I was concerned about a system where people would walk in the classroom and say, these children are hard to educate, therefore, let's just move them through the system” (Bush, March 2007). NCLB focuses on students that are at risk for academic problems or failure. We need to ensure that students are getting the extra help to which they are entitled, not just complying with requirements on paper (Thompson & Barnes, 2007). The President’s concern about “just moving them through the system” is exactly what is happening. Special education students are being placed in the inclusive setting where they cannot keep up. Educators are required to keep up a rigorous pace and fill in multi-level gaps of these students.

Student Success Initiative

The Student Success Initiative (SSI) requires third grade students to pass the reading TAKS, and fifth and eighth grade students are required to pass the reading and math TAKS. The 76th Texas Legislature introduced the Student Success Initiative in 1999. It is a system developed to ensure that “all students gain sufficient understanding of the knowledge and skills in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) curriculum” (Grade Placement Committee Manual, 2007-2008, p. 3). To demonstrate sufficient understanding of the TEKS, and in order to advance to the next grade, students are required to pass the specified TAKS. Students at these grade levels, third, fifth, and eighth, are required to be given three opportunities on specific dates designated by the state to take and pass the test. Make-up tests can be given during the week of the first and second SSI TAKS administration if a student was absent on the day of testing. No make-up testing will be permitted for the third administration. Parents are to be notified of these requirements during the first weeks of school.

If a student does not pass the SSI TAKS on the first attempt, the parents must be notified. This notification needs to address not meeting standards after three administrations will result in automatic grade-level retention and accelerated instruction. Students can receive Accelerated Math Instruction (AMI) and/or Accelerated Reading Instruction (ARI) within a group of no more than ten students. An intervention plan must be developed and implemented through Accelerated Instruction. If this instruction occurs after school hours, the school district must provide the student with transportation. If a student does not pass on the second administration, the parents must be notified and a grade placement committee (GPC) must convene consisting of the principal, student’s parent or guardian, and the student’s teacher(s) of the subject(s) which the student has not met proficiency. The committee must review accelerated instruction and data from the assessments. The parent may request a wavier requesting their child not take the third administration of the test. If the wavier is approved the student will automatically be retained. Accelerated instruction must again be implemented (Grade Placement Committee Manual, 2007-2008).

The third administration of SSI TAKS is scheduled during the summer within a three-week testing window provided on the state-testing calendar. Students who do not meet the standard on the third administration also do not meet state criterion for promotion to the next grade. At this point the student should be retained in the current grade (grade 3, 5, or 8). The parent must be notified that because the student has not met the standard on the state assessment, the student will be automatically retained. The parent may appeal automatic retention to the GPC within five days of receipt of the notification of retention. The student may be promoted if all members of the GPC unanimously agree that given additional accelerated instruction, the student is likely to perform on grade level during the next school year. The decision of the grade placement committee is final and may not be appealed (Grade Placement Committee Manual, 2007-2008).

NCLB Driving Curriculum

NCLB has forced teachers to practice extensively on assignments that resemble the TAKS test. All students receive the same practice exercises. “…mild to moderately disabled students--even after the best instruction, coaching, appropriate accommodations, and genuine effort on their part—simply give up and mark answers at random” (Meek, 2006, p. 296). Excellent performance on standardized testing may not ensure an accurate measure of academic success for these students. “If these children cannot engage the exam materials, the data provided by the scores provide no meaningful information about academic progress” (Meek, 2006, p. 296).

Summary

America is the land of opportunity. Millions have come to America in hopes of achieving the “American Dream”. Education has become a part of that dream. From the earliest times in America up to the present, education is an integral part of a person’s success.The space race, cold war, and global market-place led educators in America to strive for higher achievements. Standardized testing has become the measuring stick for these achievements. Texas has been a trail-blazer in implementing and developing these tests. From TABS to TAKS, Texas has used some form of standardized testing since 1979.

When President Bush, a Texan, signed the NCLB legislation in 2001, the stakes got much higher. NCLB legislation exempts no one from standardized testing in America. Teachers and students alike are held to a higher standard than ever before. Students with disabilities are included in this legislation, regardless of their disability. Research suggests that NCLB will create a “no win” situation for students with disabilities because NCLB does not take into account the fact that these students are not academically the same as regular students.

Chapter 3

Research Methods

The purpose of this study was to determine if special education students will score at the same percentage levels on the TAKS as they did on SDAA and to determine if special education students will score at the same percentage levels on TAKS as they did on SDAA II.

In this chapter, the methodology used to determine the test results for special education students will be presented. Also, in this chapter, the selection criteria of how participants were chosen for this experiment and the methods employed for gathering and analyzing data will be presented.

Selection of Subjects

The subjects selected for this study met the following criteria: (1) subjects were eighth grade students enrolled in the Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD; (2) subjects had been enrolled in Pecos-Barstow-Toyah ISD since third grade; (3) subjects had taken either the SDAA or SDAA II in the previous five years; (4) subjects were not exempt from taking the eighth grade level TAKS test. Based on the criteria above, 20 subjects were chosen to participate in this study.

Testing Procedures

The test given and analyzed for this study was the TAKS. This test is written by Pearson Educational Measurement Inc. under order from the Texas Education Agency. The TAKS test is a standardized test given annually to students in Texas public schools. Students must pass the TAKS to proceed to the next higher grade. If a student fails the first administration in grades three, five, and eight, they are afforded two more opportunities to pass before they are retained in their current grade. For this study, only students’ first attempts on the TAKS were taken into account.

Collection of the Data

To collect the data for this experiment, the researcher gathered the scores of the test subjects’ standardized test from the third grade through the eighth grade. Once the data was collected, a mean score was gathered from the test. Upon completion of the TAKS, the subjects’ mean scores on this test were compiled.

Treatment of the Data

To determine if the subjects’ scores on the TAKS differed significantly from their results on the SDAA or SDAA II, the mean scores from the SDAA or SDAA II were compared to the subjects’ mean scores on the TAKS test using a one-tailed T-test. The results of the one-tailed T-test were compared to a level of significance of .01. Based on the results of this test, my hypothesis will be affirmed or rejected.

Summary

The results of this comparative study will determine if special education students will score at the same percentage levels on the TAKS as they did on SDAA or SDAA II. Should the results show no significant difference in scores, my hypothesis will be rejected and state-wide standardized testing should continue as planned. However, should results show a significant difference, it will affirm my hypothesis and provide evidence for an argument against grouping all students in Texas into a single group instead of separating them according to their individual academic abilities.

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