ASK - Advocates for Special Kids
"Parents helping parents to understand special education"

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3) Many of the remedial programs provided today pursuant to California legislation are directly tied to performance on the Stanford 9 test. Access to these programs is often limited based on data which includes a child’s performance on the Stanford 9.

A September 29, 1997 "Dear Colleague" Letter by Judith E. Heumann (Assistant Secretary, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services), restated in an August 24, 2000 Memorandum from Mrs. Heumann to State Directors of Special Education, states:

"Requirements for including all children in assessments are based on a number of federal laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (Title I), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA). Assessment is often associated with direct individual benefits such as promotion, graduation, and access to educational services. In addition, assessment is an integral aspect of educational accountability systems that provide valuable information which benefits individual students by measuring individual progress against standards or by evaluating programs. Because of the benefits that accrue as the result of assessment, exclusion from assessments on the basis of disability generally would violate Section 504 and ADA." [Emphasis added] [Appendix 1]

This has been the driving force behind our review of the Stanford 9 data and the API data. For measuring progress and for access to the various programs that will help these children, we want to ensure that as many children with exceptional needs as possible participate in these tests.

Our present analysis was prompted by our review of the October 2000 API data results (which seemed to indicate that a number of MBUSD children were excluded from the API results), as well as a January 6, 2001 "Daily Breeze" article regarding a Wilmington school which had been scrutinized for excusing students from testing. Our concern was that a good number of the excluded MBUSD students were special needs children. As well, we have been concerned about the number of students with special needs who are not participating in any testing or whose testing has resulted in a lack of scores that would give some indication of their progress or provide accountability on the part of the district for their progress.

Given the small number of students with significant disabilities in the district, we feel that the vast majority of students with special needs are capable of participating in the Stanford 9 with accommodations that would allow a standardized score. Yet, figures Kate Nelson was kind enough to provide to us on a chart entitled "SAT 9 - Special Education Breakdown" indicate that of the 418 students within the grade-range for test taking, only 145 fully participated in the test without any accommodations, while 195 participated with accommodations [some of which may have precluded standardization] and 78 did not participate in testing at all. [Appendix 2]

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Revised: January 25, 2002

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