Course Overview

   Goals of the Course

This course helps educators respond to IDEA 1997 amendments that require schools to include students with disabilities in educational accountability programs when possible, and to develop and use alternate assessments when it is not possible. The course provides knowledge and skills in three essential domains:

  • Educational Assessment Principles and Practices. This unit covers the purposes of educational assessment, basic assessment literacy, and the laws and regulations governing educational accountability and inclusion of students with disabilities in accountability programs.

  • Large Scale Assessment. This unit provides educators with an overview of large scale assessment (LSA), and provides an in-depth exploration of the content and results of three popular large scale assessment tests: the TerraNova, the Stanford Achievement Test (SAT-9), and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS).

  • Accommodations and Alternate Assessment. This unit helps educators decide when and when not) to accommodate, how to provide valid and effective accommodations, and how to document accommodations decisions and practices. The unit also addresses when alternate assessment is (and is not) appropriate for evaluating students with disabilities.

Each of these units is a stand-alone course of study equivalent to 1 graduate credit or 1.5 CEUs. However, each unit builds on the previous unit. We recommend that you complete the unit on Educational Assessment Principles and Practices before you take the unit on Large Scale Assessment, and you should complete the Large Scale Assessment unit before the unit on Accommodations and Alternate Assessment. Individuals who complete all of the activities in a unit will earn 4.5 CEUs from CEC, and may earn graduate course credit from Gallaudet University if they elect to do so (see CEUs, Course Credit, and Fees).


Jeffery P. Braden, PhD
Professor of Educational Psychology University of Wisconsin--Madison
Stephen N. Elliott, PhD
Professor of Educational Psychology
University of Wisconsin--Madison
Associate Director Wisconsin Center for Education Research

  Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

We wish to fully include all persons, an in particular those with disabilities, in this course. Please let us or the CEC webmaster know if you need any special accommodations in the curriculum, instruction, or assessments of this course to enable you to fully participate. We will respect the confidentiality of the information you share with us.

  Required Readings

There is one required text for the class, which may be purchased from CEC:

Elliott, S. N. & Braden, J. P. (2001). Accessing One & All: Facilitating the Meaningful Participation of Students with Disabilities in District and Statewide Assessment Programs. Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Note: Individuals who order the book prior to publication may download the preprint manuscript (at no additional charge) to use in the course.

The required text (Elliott & Braden, 2001) provides comprehensive information relating to the three major units in the course. Content in the book and in the hypermedia course are integrated; it is not possible to fully understand this course without the text. The hypermedia course provides additional supporting materials, including slide presentations, video segments, additional readings and documents, and multimedia links to on-line resources. You must provide your own Internet access. We recommend the following software to be installed in your computer:

  1. Microsoft Internet Explorer (version 4.0 or higher)
  2. Adobe Acrobat (4.0 or higher)
  3. RealPlayer Basic (6.0 or higher)
  4. Windows Media Player (6.0 or higher)
  5. Apple QuickTime Player (3.0 or higher) optional
  6. Microsoft PowerPoint-optional

The quality of multimedia will vary according to the quality of your Internet connection, the speed of your computer, and your software. When possible, we provide on-line information in multiple file formats so you have a choice of what works best for your equipment.

Other required readings are embedded in the hypermedia course. Typically, these readings are policy statements, codes of conduct, and other brief documents. Other readings are recommended. Because they change to reflect improvements and changes in hypermedia resources, they are not listed in this syllabus.

  Assignments & Student Evaluation

All students taking the course must complete the following assignments:

  1. Review course expectations.
  2. Create a study group, either with colleagues on-site, or through the electronic forum provided by CEC
  3. Study the cases presented in the hypermedia course (i.e., review all materials in cases to thoroughly understand the children presented in each case).
  4. Develop a case using a student with whom you are familiar.
  5. Complete all exercises in each unit for our cases and yours by making a guidebook.

Rationale: We assume that educators (of all ages!) learn best when they have the opportunity to socially construct, situate, and distribute knowledge. Consequently, this course is predicated on case-based learning (situated cognition) with a team of peers (social construction) resulting in a guidebook (distributed knowledge). We do not require that you show us your guidebook, but we do require interactive responses to all exercises within a unit before you may receive credit. We will also require that you certify you have completed required assignments, and collaborated with others in developing and reviewing your work.

  Course Structure

Each unit (Educational Assessment Principles & Practices, Large Scale Assessment, and Accommodations & Alternate Assessment) has multiple modules. Although you may complete units and modules in any order, you must complete all modules within a unit to obtain credit. For example, you must complete all activities in the Accommodations, Alternate Assessment, and Decisions & Reporting modules before you may receive credit for the Accommodations & Alternate Assessment unit. You must pay the fees required for a unit before you may access any of the modules within the unit.

  CEUs, Course Credit, and Fees

  • CEUs. You may earn continuing education units (CEUs) and course credit for completing each course unit. Each unit is equivalent to 1 graduate credit, or 1.5 CEUs. When you complete all of the modules within a unit, the multimedia supplement will provide you with a form documenting 15 earned CEUs. There is no additional fee; CEUs are included in the course registration. You can use copies of the documentation to register for CEUs in your state. You may not receive partial credit for partial completion of activities-credit is all-or-none within each unit. If you require additional documentation (e.g., a formal letter of certification), CEC may provide the letter, and may charge an additional fee to cover the increased administrative costs.
  • Graduate Credit.You may also elect to earn course credit for your work through the Gallaudet University. Your grade will be determined by a series of on-line tests you will take on-line to demonstrate your knowledge of each module. After you take a test, you will get feedback on your responses. You may retake the test as many times as you wish to learn the material. You will then take a second exam covering the same material for your final grade. No additional study is required; you can earn graduate credit by examination. You may elect to take each module for 1 graduate credit; there is an additional fee (tuition) for course credit.
  • Fees. CEC charges its members $125 per unit, or $295 for all three units. The fee entitles you to unlimited course access for a period of 6 weeks/unit, or 20 weeks for those who register for all three units. Nonmembers pay $175 per unit, or $495 for all three units. Fees are generally not refundable (see below), and must be paid prior to course access. Fees are intended to cover only one student; each student is required to register, and pay their own fees. CEU certificates will be given only to those who have registered, paid fees in full, and completed all required modules and activities.

    Some or all fees may be refunded if the user is unable to access course materials due to exceptional circumstances. Because many materials are on-line, and can be accessed prior to paying course fees, CEC assumes that all who enroll for the course have already demonstrated hypermedia access. However, CEC will consider refunds if exceptional circumstances occur. Individuals must request a refund in writing within 2 weeks of paying for course, and justify their request. Requests for extended course access (beyond the limits described above) will generally not be allowed, but may be requested (in writing) within two weeks of the course access termination date. Requests for extensions after access has expired will not be considered unless the request can demonstrate exceptional circumstances.