Analysis of the effect of intellectual functioning on scores of a state assessment
Harrison, Julie Kathryn
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Across the nation, more than five million students, or approximately 10% of the school age population, are eligible for special education services. These students vary in disability, in programming, and in the severity of the disability. It is possible this variation alone may account for meaningful differences in student performance on state assessments. The purpose of the study was to determine if there is a relationship between the intellectual functioning and the percentage correct on the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness (STAAR) or STAAR Modified for students receiving services in special education. This study examined 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students in a suburban district in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex who were eligible for special education services. Data from the school district included IQ scores obtained from their most current Full and Individualized Evaluation and 2012-2013 STAAR reporting results in the areas of reading and math. Results suggested that students with a disability tend to present with lower overall intellectual levels than their peers. It would seem unfair to expect that this subgroup of students should meet the same standard with no allowances for disability-based modifications. The study further demonstrates that students with disabilities are better able to demonstrate grade level mastery when given a modified test. As state assessment tests become increasingly rigorous and cognitively complex, it may become more difficult for students with disabilities to meet an absolute standard.