Witmer, S. E., & Roschmann, S. (2020). Exploring measurement comparability of accommodated math tests for students with emotional impairments . Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development , 53 (4), 249–263. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481756.2020.1735205
Witmer, S. E., & Roschmann, S. (2020). Exploring measurement comparability of accommodated math tests for students with emotional impairments. Measurement and Evaluation in Counseling and Development, 53(4), 249–263. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481756.2020.1735205
Several accommodations were identified as part of the analyses of the mathematics assessment dataset. In part, they included live/in-person oral delivery, recorded human voice oral delivery, test administered across multiple days, and other accommodations—each in lower frequencies.
An extant data set from Michigan (U.S.) consisting of students in grade 4 and grade 5 was analyzed. Three groups of students were identified: (a) students with emotional impairments who received assessment accommodations, (b) students with emotional impairments who did not receive assessment accommodations, and (c) a reference group of students without disabilities who did not receive assessment accommodations. Students with emotional impairments included 568 grade 4 students and 671 grade 5 students. The grade 4 students with emotional impairments included 253 students receiving accommodations and 315 students not receiving accommodations. The grade 5 students with emotional impairments consisted of 261 students receiving accommodations and 410 not receiving accommodations. For each grade level (grades 4 and 5), a reference group of 1,000 students without disabilities not receiving accommodations was randomly selected. Participant demographics including sex, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic information were reported.
An extant data set from a 2012 Michigan accountability assessment consisting of grade 4 and grade 5 mathematics scores for students with and without disabilities was analyzed. The math construct included several components: Geometry, Measurement and Data, Number and Operations in Base Ten, Number and Operations for Fractions, and Operations and Algebraic Thinking. Comparisons of score patterns were performed at the item level—that is, using differential item functioning (DIF) analysis—to determine the comparability of measurement across the participant groups, including: (a) presence of DIF on state math assessments when comparing students with emotional impairments who received accommodations to non-accommodated students without disabilities, and (b) presence of DIF on state math assessments when comparing students with emotional impairments taking the assessment without accommodations to non-accommodated students without disabilities.
Differential Item Functioning (DIF) analysis results showed no systematic differences based on math test content or item features for any group of students, whether students with or without disabilities, in either grade 4 or grade 5. To be clear, a small number of test items, including some on Numbers and Operations, Measurement, and Data and Probability, were shown to uniformly function differentially for students by group, yet the overall effects were weak. The implications are that the math test, with some exceptions, generally measured the same academic content at the same difficulty level for students with emotional impairments and students without disabilities. Item-level comparisons for students with emotional impairments receiving or not receiving accommodations found no systematic differences in item functioning, indicating that the accommodations did not affect the academic content. The researchers noted the limited information about the specific accommodations provided, and noted that accommodations specifically identified to address the needs of students with emotional impairments ought to be examined for their potential to decrease accessibility barriers during standardized assessments. Limitations of the study were reported, and future research directions were suggested.