McCormack, A. (2019). An investigation into the use of the “tests read” accommodation for the New York State 4th grade ELA assessment, the impact on reported scores, and the reported knowledge and beliefs of administrators regarding the assignment and purpose of accommodations (Publication No. 13899837) [Doctoral dissertation, St. John’s University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. https://www.proquest.com/docview/2357588281
St. John's University (Queens, NY); ProQuest document ID: 2357588281
The use of oral delivery, presented live in-person by test administrators—termed "tests read"—during English language arts state assessments was investigated.
This examination of oral delivery accommodations usage patterns across a majority of New York State (U.S.) incorporated 37 educational service regions, including 3,244 students with disabilities and 37 special education administrators as participants. The sample regions excluded those with too few students with disabilities, those that did not use oral delivery of tests, and New York City. Schools in 183 districts were represented in the data, from among 733 independent school districts in 62 counties across the state. Additional demographic data were reported for the statewide school population.
The extant data set was from the 2017 and 2018 New York State (NYS) grade 4 English language arts (ELA) Exam (Questar Assessment, Inc., 2016) for the “test read” (oral delivery, live in-person) accommodation. Variation in use of the accommodation were analyzed by region, and the ratio of students with disabilities receiving in-person oral delivery out of the total number of students with disabilities in the district was calculated. The proportions of students with disabilities with each of the four ELA achievement (or proficiency) levels were reported. ELA mean rank was applied to measure outcomes in relation to the oral delivery accommodation. In the qualitative portion of this study, a five item educator survey—developed by the researcher, reviewed by five experts in the field, and reduced from the initial 10 questions—was completed by 37 special education administrators representing each of the 37 regions of New York. A thematic analysis was conducted which discerned the perceptions of decision makers which were important for determining accommodation assignment.
Analyses of two years of New York grade 4 ELA test data showed a significant difference in the usage rate of “tests read” (oral delivery, live/in-person) across a sample of school districts from the 37 educational service regions of the state. The pattern of using this oral delivery accommodation varied by region; approximately 24% of the variance in oral delivery's use was attributable to state region. In some regions, the rate of students using oral delivery was significantly different than in other regions; for instance, proportional use of this accommodation was significantly lower in the Lower Hudson Valley than in nearly all other regions, besides Long Island. Across New York State, nearly all regions had statistically similar ELA mean scores; only the North Western region and one of the Adirondack regions had significantly different scores. Post-hoc tests did not indicate definitively whether the variation in use of live/in-person oral delivery accommodation among regions had a significant effect on ELA test performance across the state. Results of a survey of 37 special education administrators representing all regions of the state indicated that the oral delivery accommodation was assigned to “level the playing field” for students with disabilities in relation to students without disabilities, rather than to provide access to assessments. The survey also revealed several issues, including a lack of knowledge about or use of New York’s accommodations guidelines or decision-making tool. Similarly, survey results suggested there was a lack of training for teachers on accommodations in general, and specifically on the state’s decision-making tool.