As required by law for all students in special education, the assessment team reviews information on students due for triennial review and, in cooperation with parents through domain meetings, determines the needed assessments. Assessments are then administered to determine ongoing eligibility for special education and to review progress over the past three years. A report is prepared and shared at the student’s triennial IEP meeting during which eligibility for special education and appropriate educational labels are determined.
Special Request Assessment
Students who are not making expected academic gains or have behavioral and/or social/emotional concerns may be referred for a special assessment. Members of the IEP team, including parents, can request an assessment. Requests are reviewed by principals and Evaluation Center Director and testing is chosen depending on the referral question. Findings from the evaluation are shared with the student’s IEP team at a post assessment meeting.
Students who are deaf or hard of hearing and served by schools in Illinois other than ISD can be referred either by the schools or parents for specialized, in-depth evaluations to provide needed information for program development. Students must come to the Illinois School for the Deaf for the assessment(s), with the cost for transportation assumed by the family or home school district. The evaluation is free of charge. Assessments can be conducted in the areas of audiology, speech and language, American Sign Language, reading, and psycho-educational performance. For information on how to refer a student in your district or your child for assessment, please contact the Evaluation Center Director at 217-479-4287.
Mobile Assessment Program (MAP)
The Mobile Assessment Program (MAP) serves adult deaf and hard of hearing clients of the Division of Rehabilitation Services who are referred for vocational assessments by their rehabilitation counselor for the deaf. Members of the assessment team travel to the client's DRS office to administer evaluations and interview clients to assist in determining the presence of foundational skills and possible vocational paths for clients. Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf in Illinois who are interested in having the MAP evaluation for a client should contact the Career and Technical Education Principal at 217-479-4216 for a referral form.
The Illinois School for the deaf cooperates with the Illinois State Board of Education and each student’s home school district in administering all state-mandated tests. In previous years, the Illinois State Achievement Test (ISAT) and Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE), along with the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) were administered. These are no longer in use. These assessments have been replaced the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments and the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM). These assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards and Illinois State Standards. In addition, the state is supporting local districts’ decisions as whether or not the ACT will be administered to students within any given district.
Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a consortium of 11 states and the District of Columbia that are working together to develop tests that are high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy. They are developed to give teachers, schools, students, and parents better and more useful information on how we’re preparing our students for their futures. Administration of the PARCC assessments began in the 2014-2015 school year.
PARCC tests are currently administered to students at ISD in the 3rd through 8th grades, and to students in high school who are enrolled in courses aligned with standards for English/Language Arts III and Algebra 2. PARCC tests are administered one time a year in the late spring. As of the writing of this document, Illinois has not yet determined the exact dates of administration for the 2015-2016 school year. Each student will complete from six (6) to seven (7) test units, depending upon the grade level. Total testing time varies from eight (8) to nine (9) hours over several shorter testing sessions.
The individual accessibility and accommodation needs of students are reviewed at each student’s IEP. While the majority of students take the test on line, paper based administrations are given when determined appropriate by an IEP team. Other accommodations such as individual administration of the test, use of ASL instructions, closed captions, enlarged print or a wide variety of other adjustments can be requested. If a parent has any question about what a student may require in order to fully access the information on a test, they should contact their student’s principal and request a review of testing accessibility and accommodation features.
Results from the PARCC assessment will be reported to parents during IEP meetings or sent to parents in the mail, when test results are made available to the school. Results for the 2014-2015 testing are not expected until fall of 2015, but results in future years should be available by the end of the school year during which a test is administered.
For more specific information about the PARCC assessments, interested parties are encouraged to visit the following site: http://parcc.pearson.com/
Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM
The DLM is an alternate assessment given to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and for whom the PARCC assessment is not appropriate, even with accommodations. Traditional multiple-choice testing does not always allow students with significant cognitive disabilities to fully demonstrate their knowledge. By integrating assessment with instruction during the year and providing a year-end assessment, the DLM system maps student learning aligned with college and career readiness standards in English language arts and mathematics.
The DLM system is accessible by students with significant cognitive disabilities, including those who also have hearing or visual disabilities, and/or neuromuscular, orthopedic, or other motor disabilities. DLM assessments are flexible. They allow for the use of common assistive technologies in addition to keyboard and mouse and touch-screen technology. The accessibility and accommodation needs of each student will be reviewed during the IEP meeting by the student’s IEP team.
The end-year assessment is administered individually to students over a period of weeks, typically during the late spring. The exact dates of the administration of the DLM at the end of the 2015-2016 school year have not yet been determined as of the writing of this document.
For more specific information about the PARCC assessments, interested parties are encouraged to visit the following site: http://dynamiclearningmaps.org/
The ACT is no longer required to be administered by the state of Illinois, but the state will currently support its administration to students whose districts elect to give the test. ISD will administer the test only to students whose home districts are administering the test. The ACT is administered at ISD in early March, but students may also take the test independently throughout the year by registering through the ACT site.
The ACT is a battery of tests consisting of (1) the ACT Plus Writing, which includes the ACT battery of four multiple-choice tests (English, mathematics, reading, and science) and a writing prompt and (2) two WorkKeys assessments (Applied Mathematics and Reading for Information).
The ACT’s WorkKeys Locating Information assessment will be administered at ISD after ACT is completed. This will allow students who earn qualifying scores the opportunity to be eligible for ACT’s National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).
Accommodations for the ACT must be approved in advance of the test by the ACT organization, which maintains its own standards for granting or rejecting requests. Students should work with ISD’s Transition Coordinator to assure that accommodations are requested as appropriate.
For more specific information about the ACT assessment, interested parties are encouraged to visit the following site: http://www.act.org/
In addition to administering the aforementioned state tests, the Illinois School for the Deaf also administers a variety of district-wide assessments to monitor student growth and academic achievement and to inform classroom and smaller group instruction. The results of these assessments are included in the data section of each student’s IEP and are often mentioned in the Present Level of Performance for related learning goals and objectives.
NWEA Measures of Academic Progress (MAP)
The NWEA Map assessments are administered three times each school year to students in grades 2 through 12. The MAP tests are used to monitor student achievement in the areas of reading, language, and math. These adaptive computerized assessments engage students, increasing or decreasing in difficulty depending on responses given, and allow teachers to monitor grade-independent growth. NWEA MAP scores are reported on the NWEA RIT scale and normative data is available to compare RIT scores to grade-level performance (http://www.nwea.org/node/11901).
STAR Enterprise Assessments
The STAR Enterprise assessments are computer-adaptive tests administered in the fall, winter, and spring. The STAR Reading Enterprise is an assessment of both reading comprehension and various reading skills. Independent readers through grade 12 take this test to monitor their academic growth and achievement in five domains: Word Knowledge and Skills, Comprehension Strategies and Constructing Meaning, Analyzing Literary Text, Understanding Author’s Craft, and Analyzing Argument and Evaluating Text. The STAR Enterprise Math assessment tracks the math progress and achievement of students in grades 1 through 12 in four domains: Numbers and Operations, Algebra, Geometry and Measurement, and Data Analysis, Statistics, and Probability.
You can find “A Parent’s Guide to STAR Assessments in both English and Spanish at http://www.renlearn.com/parentspage/star.aspx.
Developing Writer’s Assessment (DWA)
The DWA is the tool that allows us to document growth and guide classroom instruction in the area of expressive writing. The DWA is administered to every kindergarten through 12th grade student in the fall and spring each year. Through this assessment, student strengths and opportunities for improvement in several sub-skills of writing content and conventions are identified and individual objectives are determined.
Careers for Me Picture Interest Inventory
The Careers for Me Picture Inventory measures a student’s interest in a particular career. The Careers for Me Picture Inventory has six career clusters: Environmental and Agricultural Systems, Arts and Communication, Business, Industrial and Engineering Systems, Health Services, and Human Resources/Services. The students look at a row of pictures that show activities and interests. The students circle the pictures that match their interests. The selected pictures are calculated and the results generate the career clusters of most interest to the student. Administered, as appropriate, beginning in 8th grade, the Careers for Me Picture Inventory results are discussed in the IEP/Transition meetings to assist with the student’s future employment planning.
Primarily administered to 11th grade students, the CareerScope is a standardized and timed interest and aptitude assessment for career guidance. The interest inventory identifies interest areas such as Artistic, Plans/Animals, Mechanical, Business Detail, Accommodating, Lead/Influence, Scientific, Protective, Industrial, Selling, Humanitarian, and Physical Performing. The aptitude assessments identify aptitude areas such as General Learning Ability, Verbal, Numerical, Spatial, Form, and Clerical. Career recommendations can be generated that are consistent with the Guide for Occupational Exploration, the Dictionary of Occupational titles, O*Net, as well as the U.S. DOE Career Clusters and Pathways. The CareerScope results are discussed in the IEP/Transition meeting to assist with the student’s future employment planning.
Casey Life Skills (CLS)
The CLS is an assessment tool that measures the behaviors and competencies youth need to achieve their long-term goals. The CLS is used in collaborative conversations between students, age 14 – 21, Rehabilitation counselor, educator, & other members of the IEP team. The CLS measures Maintaining Healthy Relationships, Work and Study Habits, Planning and Goal-setting, Using Community Resources, Daily Living Activities, Budgeting and Paying Bills, Computer Literacy, and Their Permanent Connections to Caring Adults. The CLS helps students build their own personal checklist of skills and strengths to identify the next steps they need to take to achieve their life goals. The CLS results will be discussed in the IEP/Transition meeting to assist with the student’s future planning.
Kaufmann Functional Academic Skills Test (K-FAST)
The K-FAST is an assessment to measure an adolescent’s or adult’s ability to demonstrate competence in reading and mathematics as applied to daily life situations. The test is composed of two subtests, Reading and Arithmetic. The questions relate to everyday activities that occur outside a school setting. The results will be discussed during the IEP/Transition meeting to assist with the student’s future planning. This assessment is used with students in the 11th grade through age 21.
Transition Competence Battery (TCB)
The TCB is a standardized assessment tool designed specifically to measure the transition skills of deaf adolescents. Used with students in 11th grade and beyond, the TCB analyzes the work and social skills necessary to successfully work and live in the community. The TCB includes three subtests on employment and three subtests on independent living. These are: Job Seeking Skills, Workplace Adjustment Skills, Job-Related Social Skills, Money Management Skills, Health and Home Skills, and Community Awareness Skills. The TCB results will be discussed in the IEP/Transition meetings to assist with the student’s future planning.