Special Education

1. Validity and Reliability

Validity of assessment is a tool that denotes the extent by which a test is related to the content required. Validity in terms of content is used to something that is extremely valuable. This is obtained through the assessment on whether an individual item included in the text represents what is necessary to be assessed. Validity of assessment can be affected by various factors such as test related factors, reliability and intervening events. Each special educator should always understand this. This is because students with exceptional needs require exceptional attention. (Pierangelo & Giuliani, 2009).

Reliability is used to measure the consistency of an assessment. A reliable assessment produces similar results in all the conditions, situations, and testing environment. Reliability of a test can be affected by the test taker’s temporary psychological condition or his physical state. A special educator requires taking note of thisA special educator requires knowing both validity and reliability since they are important when dealing with special education students. How valid an assessment is to the teacher depends with what is to be tested. A student may be tested in one aspect and not in all the others. A good example is when a student is assessed on how to write and improve the handwriting and hence validity of the content is meaningless.thi also applies to a student with some mental problems, he does not need to be extremely reliable hence, it is essential for the educator to know the terms and the type of students.  (Pierangelo & Giuliani, 2009).

2. Norm referenced and Criterion Referenced Testing

Norm-referenced tests make a comparison of an examinee’s performances with those of other examinees. The goal of norm-referenced tests is to rank the examinees in the order of merit. The highest performer compared to a class of many examinees is ranked as the number one. Criterion-referenced testing, on the other hand, compares an examinees performance to a given and predetermined set of standards. The objective of this assessment is not only to rank but also to demonstrate the level of a certain subject understanding.

A good example of both norm-based and criterion-based tests in the academic field is a school situation. A teacher gives continuous assessment test to rank the students in the class depending on the marks for each paper. This is norm-referenced assessment. The evaluation of the students is made because of, probably, college entry or award giving. In the same class, the teacher may decide to set a given score, which every student must gain. This helps the teacher to know how the certain subject has been learned due to the results. Such kinds of results could not be ranked and are given as pass or fail. These tests could be used to make decisions on job entry licensure or certification (Current Issues in Assessment and Intervention).

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3. Discrimination in Special Education.

A court case and a federal legislation can help solve an issue in special education like discrimination. Discrimination in special education is evident in two types: the exclusion of students with disabilities from school altogether and classification of students with a disability when actually there was no disability. A landmark court case on special education is Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka Kansas in 1954. This represents a key milestone in the fight for equity of opportunity for all children. The court ruled that arbitrary discriminate against a group of people is illegal and later it applied this principle to the schooling of children (Skiba, Simmons, et al., 2008).

Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act is also beneficial in the schooling of special needs students. The civil rights were enacted in 1973 and aimed to prevent any discrimination against all individuals with special needs or disabilities from the programs that receive some federal funds. The Act also ensures that students have equal opportunities in all school activities. The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1997 offers several options for the school authorities of working with a student with any disability. Federal legislation helps by ruling on how special education is to be undertaken.  (Skiba, Simmons, et al., 2008).

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