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Debra Ruh

  Employability & Technology

11/23/2009

NEA Suggests NAEP Test Items Be Written in "Plain English" for Students with Disabilities

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Education Week (11/11, Zehr) reports, "Representatives of education organizations who appeared at a Nov. 9 public hearing" in DC "agreed with the governing board for the National Assessment of Educational Progress that the 'nation's report card" should be as inclusive as possible of English-language learners and students with disabilities." However, they disagreed with all of the board's proposals for how to do that." One of the most contentious issues discussed "at the hearing was the board's proposal that students with disabilities be permitted to receive only accommodations approved by NAGB and not all of those that may appear in their individual education programs, or IEPs." NEA representatives said that "it would be frustrating for students with disabilities not to be able to use on NAEP the accommodations that they are normally permitted to use on state tests." Patricia K. Ralabate, 'a senior policy analyst for the NEA," suggested that "the board should consider creating test items based on universal-design principles, such as using very straightforward language," also called "Plain English."