Amber Alert

How to Use Test Scores to Measure Educational Progress and FAPE

"If something exists, it exists in some amount. If it exists in some amount, then it is capable of being measured." Rene Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, 1644

Assume your child began receiving special education services three years ago. Is your child making progress? Is your child catching up with the peer group? Has your child fallen further behind? Is your child receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

How do you know? Do you know your child’s standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents on the most recent evaluation? Have you compared these scores with earlier testing?
Parents, teachers, and advocates must learn how to measure educational progress. If you do not learn how to use information from tests to track your child's progress, you will not be able to play an active role in planning your child's special education program. Your biggest obstacle is likely to be your own fear that you can’t understand this material. You need to overcome that fear.

What can you do? Read “Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney” -- three times. Use a highlighter. Make notes in the margins. Reading the material three times is the key to success.

After you have read the article or chapters three times, get the evaluations and tests on your child. Compare tests that have been administered more than once. What's the verdict? Is your child learning and making acceptable progress? Has your child fallen further behind?

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Written originally in Summer 2007.

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