FYI : AOA's Companion Book

        Teachers have standards too!   The American Federation of Teachers believes that "assessment competencies are an essential part of teaching and that good teaching cannot exist without good student assessment" (AFT Standards for Teachers Competence in Educational Assessment of Students, 1990. p1).  The Council for Exceptional Children also recognizes the importance of assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation among its "common core" of basic knowledge and skills essential to all special educators.  Read more about teacher standards and assessment practices in Chapter 1.


        Teachers are Tests!   Technically, teachers are not tests, but when they are provided structure for making judgments about students' academic skills, they have been shown to be highly reliable judges. Research reported in the AOA book documents several studies that indicate that most teachers estimations of a student's performance agrees about 80% of the time with the student's actual item by item performance on achievement tests. Thus, teachers know what most of their students can and cannot do.  Read more about how teachers can function like highly reliable tests in Chapter 1.


        There is no such thing as a valid test!  Tests are not valid or invalid although we frequently hear somebody say that this test is valid for measuring such and such ability or skill. Validity is concerned with the inference one makes from the scores that result from a test.  Read more about issues of validity and the evidence needed to support that a test score is valid in Chapter 2.


        Testing accommodations lead to better assessment pictures!  Like the photographers who take the school class pictures of our students, IDEA now requires that all students be in the "accountability picture" for your school. Testing accommodations and alternate assessments are the two tactics that educators have for meaningfully including ALL students in their picture of achievement.  Read more about both of these tactics in Chapter 4 and their likely affects on test scores.



        Variability rules!  Research on testing accommodations has demonstrated that testing accommodations have different effects on students. The majority of students' test scores increase with accommodations, however, some students, especially those with significant emotional disorders, are uninfluenced by accommodations and a few students' scores even are decreased when they receive accommodations. Read more about the research on testing accommodations and their effects on students' test scores in Chapter 4.


        Test preparation, are you for it or against it?  What does good test

preparation look like? What affects does test preparation have on students' performance on state tests?  Read more about best test preparation practices in Chapter 5.


        Large Scale Assessment: Necessary Evil or Just Plain Evil? Although some educators embrace assessment, others are less enthusiastic. Educators' resistance to mandated assessment is understandable, because testing programs are often required by external agencies and may be used for many purposes that educators do not embrace, such as rating school districts, or determining student promotion and graduation. To learn more about why educators should and must assess all students' achievement, read Chapter 3.



        The CIA: Is Big Brother is Watching! No, but effective schools coordinate 3 factors to enhance educational success: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. These factors are commonly referred to as the CIA. Achievement tests are designed to measure how well schools do in helping students meet state standards; assessment stimulates accountability to ensure curriculum-instruction alignment. Find out more by reading Chapter 3 about how achievement tests function as a "CIA agent."



        Proficient, According to Who? Teachers often ask who sets proficiency levels and expectations for curricular mastery. Congress? The President? The Marquis de Sade? Most are surprised to find it is usually teachers, like themselves, who set proficiency levels. The technique most states use to help teachers set proficiency levels is called "bookmarking." Learn more about the bookmarking process and standards setting in Chapter 3.