Assessing Students with Special Needs

This comprehensive text for current/future teachers of learners with disabilities is grounded in the idea that assessment is at the center of all good teaching. Its hallmarks are its accessibility, balanced coverage of both this formal and informal assessment, plus thorough exploration of the link between gathering information and actually using it to make informed decisions. Offering a step-by-step Assessment Question Model on the inside front cover, it equips readers to understand the complete assessment process, from choosing the best tool, to adapting instruction to improving outcomes.

Popular, as well as lesser-known, tools are examined in order to acquaint readers with promising procedures for assessing students with special needs.

This book will give you an understanding of the assessment process as well as the practical skills needed to assess students with special needs successfully so that you can teach them well. To structure the process, the authors offer an assessment question model, and have developed the idea of the Individualized Assessment Plan (IAP). Their basis for the assessment questions and suggested procedures is a combination of best professional practices and legal mandates. This functional approach allows you sufficient flexibility to explore the areas and types of assessment in which you are particularly interested.

In accordance with their belief that educators need useful information, they maintain a strong educational orientation toward assessment.

This is the fifth edition of Assessing Students with Special Needs, and it reflects many changes in professional thought and practice in both special education and general education. Topics new to this edition include recent legislation (e.g., the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments), reform movements in general and special education, techniques for ongoing classroom assessment (e.g., functional assessment of behavior), test accommodations for students with disabilities, assessment for grading and report cards, evaluation of new areas of interest such as phonological processing, and the development of collaborative parent-professional partnerships in the assessment process.

The fifth edition is organized somewhat differently from previous editions, although the content covered is the same. The entire book has been thoroughly updated with current literature and coverage of pertinent issues, trends, and professional practices. Throughout our interest in the promotion of nonbiased assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse students is maintained.

Chapter 14 in particular, focuses on strategies for the assessment of students who speak dialects of English and those who speak languages other than English.

Part One of the fifth edition, Introduction to Special Education Assessment, includes information on the purposes of assessment, laws and regulations governing assessment, the team approach to assessment, the organization of the assessment process using the assessment question model, and the steps in assessment.

Part Two, Assessment Skills for Special Educators, contains chapters on selecting the tools for assessment, administration and scoring of standardized tests, and design and use of informal assessment techniques and procedures. A new chapter has also been introduced–Chapter 6, Classroom Assessment Techniques – and it describes a range of techniques for evaluating student progress in the classroom instructional program. These techniques include functional behavioral assessment, curriculum-based measurement, action research, and portfolio assessment. This chapter also discusses important issues in ongoing assessment such as managing student data, grading and report cards, and test accommodations.

Part Three of the fifth edition, Assessment of General Performance Areas, centers around the general performance areas most relevant to eligibility assessment: school performance, learning aptitude, specific learning abilities and strategies, and classroom behavior.

Part Four, Assessment of Academic Areas, focuses on the assessment of academic skills: reading, mathematics, written language, and oral language and bilingual assessment.

Part Five, Special Considerations, provides information on three important topics: parent and family involvement in assessment, assessment during the preschool years, and assessment for transition planning.

This edition also features new tests and assessment procedures, many of which are revised versions of measures described in earlier editions. More than 80 new published measures are included.

The authors goal in this book is to provide us with a foundation for understanding the assessment process and with the skills necessary for carrying out meaningful assessments. The chief strength of this text remains its balanced coverage of formal and informal assessment. Critiques of the strengths and weaknesses of formal tests and informal procedures help us to select the tools that will supply the information we need.

Popular instruments are discussed in some depth, not necessarily because they are always the best techniques, but because they reflect current practice. On the other hand, information about less well known tests and techniques is provided to acquaint you with promising procedures. With this comprehensive coverage, we discover not only what is currently being done (and how well) but also what needs to be changed and how to do that.

In addition, they provide the connection between gathering assessment information and using it to make decisions. There are regular reminders to consider assessment data in relation to the classroom setting and suggestions for making sense out of all the information gathered. This process is described in the context of a team approach to educational assessment but with particular emphasis on the role of the special education teacher.

This book is also a practical classroom resource, as it contains several useful case reports, sample test profiles, checklists, and illustrations. Also, information boxes throughout the chapters summarize the important characteristics of tests discussed in depth. Each chapter begins with a brief topical outline of its contents and ends with a Study Guide containing factual review questions, applied activities, and discussion questions focusing on critical issues addressed in the chapter. Companion Website

Features of the sixth edition of this accessible, comprehensive text include:

  • Up-to-date coverage of the latest laws and regulations impacting how, when, and why students are assessed
  • A thorough discussion of CEC skills and knowledge competencies related to assessment
  • Over 200 formal and informal tools, including the most commonly used assessments, emphasizing how they fit into the overall assessment process
  • Assessment in Action cases to encourage critical thinking about assessing students with special needs
  • More coverage on alternate assessments including observation, criterion-referenced testing, curriculum-based and portfolio assessment
  • How to develop collaborative partnerships when assessing students with special needs

Although pricey, this book is ideal for parents, students, medical professionals, and educators alike. If you would like to purchase this book online at, click on the following link.

Alternatively, if you only require this book for a short period of time (or would like to ‘test-drive’ the book prior to purchase), you may loan it from Little Red Bus at this following link.

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