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Book Review

Teaching and Assessing Low-Achieving Students with Disabilities: A Guide to Alternative Assessments Based on Modified Achievement Standards


For lower-achieving students with disabilities, effective and appropriate alternate assessment (AA) based on modified achievement standards (MAS) can open the door to greater expectations and opportunities. State policymakers have the option of providing certain students who have disabilities with AA-MAS aligned with grade-level content—and now there’s a comprehensive, research-based guide that shows the way.


This book is designed to help policymakers and administrators make the best decisions about the implementation of alternate assessments and provide guidance for teachers as they align instruction with state-determined content standards.


Blending analysis of research with today’s best assessment practices, a diverse panel of experts give readers guidance on the technical and practical aspects of AA-MAS, including: setting and evaluating criteria for participation in AA-MAS; ensuring access to the general curriculum, with special focus on reading and math standards; understanding cognitive development barriers to learning grade-level material; establishing clear links between assessment and content standards; designing and assembling test forms for AA-MAS; defining proficiency for the target population; setting appropriate cut scores on tests; incorporating modifications to items on tests; reviewing test items for accuracy, fairness, universal design, and psychometric concerns; accurately evaluating comparability between AA-MAS and general assessments; conducting a thorough validity evaluation for the AA-MAS; and determining the impact of the AA-MAS on the state accountability system.

To support readers as they meet the challenges of assessing what lower-achieving students know, this volume also gives them helpful content such as a glossary of assessment terms, examples of test modifications, and goals associated with content standards in math and reading.