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National Center on Secondary Education and Transition: Creating opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures.

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2009 Survey of States: Accomplishments and New Issues at the End of a Decade of Change (June 2010)
This report is a snapshot of the new initiatives, trends, accomplishments, and emerging issues during this period of standards-based education reform as states document the academic achievement of students with disabilities. It summarizes the 12th survey of states by the Institute on Community Integration’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). Results are presented for all 50 states and 8 of the 11 federally-funded entities (unique states). Published by NCEO, it is available in PDF (1.35 MB, 53 pp).

Academic Standards and Students with Disabilities
This Web topic from the National Center on Educational Outcomes includes an overview of the topic, FAQs, links to state web sites, and links to helpful publications and resources.

Characteristics of States' Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards in 2010-2011 (September 2011)
In 2007, federal regulations introduced another assessment option for students with disabilities – alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). The Institute on Community Integration’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) has been tracking the characteristics of states' AA-MAS since 2007. According to the 2009 NCEO update on test characteristics, 13 states had developed what an AA-MAS, and three (Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana) had received federal approval. The further study reported in this publication found 17 states that by the 2010-11 academic school year had developed, or were developing an AA-MAS, and one additional state (North Carolina) had received federal approval. The report tracks test design changes between the AA-MAS and regular assessment, whether an AA-MAS is computer-based, whether computer-based tests (CBTs) include tutorial and practice test opportunities, and whether considerations for English Language Learners (ELLs) with disabilities are included.

The Common Core State Standards Page from the Center for Parent Information and Resources (updated February 2014)
This page provides an overview of the CCSS and answers the questions What's happening in your state? and How do the standards apply to students with disabilities? It also provides links to resources for administrators, educators, and families.

Developing and Improving Modified Achievement Level Descriptors: Rationale, Procedures, and Tools (June 2010)
This paper from the National Center on Educational Outcomes provides a rationale, procedures, and tools to develop and improve alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) achievement level descriptors (ALDs). As states consider whether and how to develop an AA-MAS, they also develop a defense of their choices. This paper proposes a process to guide states so that stakeholders and policymakers can articulate, from the beginning, the educational rationale for their choices and the implications of this rationale for their design choices in developing ALDs. Available in pdf (75 pages, 489 KB).

Engineering Solutions to the National Crisis in Literacy: How to Make Good on the Promise of the Common Core State Standards (April 2011)
The Alliance for Excellent Education has issued “Engineering Solutions to the National Crisis in Literacy: How to Make Good on the Promise of the Common Core State Standards,” a policy brief on calls for federal support of state literacy plans aligned to ELA Common Core Standards, so that students, regardless of where they live, can graduate from high school ready for college and the modern workplace. The brief offers recommendations for leveraging improvement in literacy skills from birth through grade 12 by providing systemic approaches, equitable resources, and strong teacher training.

Parents’ Guide to Student Success (2011)
The Parents’ Guide to Student Success (available in English and Spanish) was developed in response to the Common Core State Standards in English language arts and mathematics that more than 40 states have adopted. Created by teachers, parents, education experts, and others from across the country, the standards provide clear, consistent expectations for what students should be learning at each grade in order to be prepared for college and career.

Participation and Performance Reporting for the Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Achievement Standards (April 2011)
This document from the National Center on Educational Outcomes examines publicly reported participation and performance data for the alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). Analysis included all states publicly reporting AA-MAS data, regardless of whether they had received approval to use the results for Title I accountability calculations. Data were examined for school years 2006-07 through 2009-10.


Web Sites

Achieve, Inc.: Assessments
Achieve, Inc., is a bipartisan, non-profit organization that helps states raise academic standards, improve assessments and strengthen accountability to prepare all young people for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship.

Assessment and Accountability Comprehensive Center
The AACC implements, evaluates, and improves assessment and accountability systems so that states and districts can reach the No Child Left Behind goal of academic proficiency for all students. It is operated by WestEd in partnership with National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). Its Web site includes information about special populations.

Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL) Content Knowledge
McREL's Content Knowledge project seeks to address major issues concerning content standards, provide a model for identifying standards, and apply this model to identify standards and benchmarks in the subject areas. This Web site includes a compilation of content standards for K-12 curriculum in both searchable and browsable formats.

Modeling for Understanding in Science Education (MUSE)
This site contains in-depth science curricula that align with the National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Scientific Literacy in three primary areas: astronomy, evolutionary biology, and classical genetics. Curricula were developed in collaboration by teachers, researchers, and students. Published by the National Center for Mathematics and Science in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO)
General information about NCEO’s research and dissemination concerning educational outcomes, indicators, and assessments for students with and without disabilities. This Web site includes online technical and research reports on the following topics: reporting of assessment results; student participation in large scale assessments and their use of accommodations; work with state and federal agencies to identify important outcomes of education for students with disabilities; and collaboration among general educators and special educators to increase access to the general education curriculum.

National Standards
Several organizations have developed national guidelines and standards for instruction at the secondary level. Following is a wide range of standards information for content across several disciplines in the high school curriculum.

State Education Reforms Web Site from the National Center for Education Statistics
The State Education Reforms Web site, which draws primarily on data collected by organizations other than the National Center for Education Statistics, compiles and disseminates data on state-level education reform efforts in four areas: 1) standards, assessment, and accountability; 2) school finance reforms; 3) resources for learning; and 4) state support for school choice options. Specific reform areas include student and teacher assessments, adequate yearly progress, statewide exit exams, highly qualified teachers, open enrollment laws, and charter schools.

State Web Sites for State Standards Information
Every state except one has developed state-level content standards. These standards provide a basis for statewide assessments. Content standards define what all students should know and be able to do in subject areas such as math, reading, writing, science, and social studies. However, standards documents sometimes vary considerably between states. This listing of links for state standards is available on and maintained by the National Center on Educational Outcomes.

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This page was last updated on January 12, 2022.