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Out-of-Level Testing [microform] : Pros and Cons / Martha Thurlow, Judy Elliott and Jim Ysseldyke
Bib ID 5669092
Format BookBook, MicroformMicroform, OnlineOnline
Thurlow, Martha
Online Versions
Description [Washington, D.C.] : Distributed by ERIC Clearinghouse, 1999 
8 p. 

This paper addresses the controversy about use of "out-of-level" testing, the practice of assessing students (usually those with disabilities) with a lower-level version of a test. The controversy pits unintended instructional consequences against "accurately" measuring performance and avoiding student frustration. Introductory sections explain what out-of-level testing is and offer a brief history of its use. Next, arguments for out-of-level testing are offered, including avoidance of student frustration and emotional trauma; improved accuracy of measurement; and better measurement when the context of the test matches the student's instructional level. Arguments against out-of-level testing stress that assessments must be consistent with the purpose for which they are used and that out-of-level testing reflects low expectations for students and negatively affects their instruction. Next, five assumptions for out-of-level testing and objections to these assumptions are listed. Three considerations in using out-of-level testing for individual students are identified: (1) performance on grade level assessment is likely to be spuriously higher than on out-of-level assessments; (2) instructional issues need to be addressed before students are placed in out-of-level tests; and (3) unintended consequences of out-of-level testing include never reaching grade-level or passing a high stakes test. Finally, questions for decision makers to consider before using out-of-level tests are suggested. (DB)


Availability: NCEO Publications Office, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 E. River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ($3.50). Tel: 612-624-8561; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site:

Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.

Contract Number: H159C50004.

ERIC Note: The Center represents a collaborative effort of the University of Minnesota, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education.



NCEO Policy Directions, n9 Apr 1999.

May also be available online. Address as at 14/8/18:

Reproduction Microfiche. [Washington D.C.]: ERIC Clearinghouse microfiches : positive. 
Subjects Decision Making.  |  Disabilities.  |  Educational Assessment.  |  Educational Policy.  |  Elementary Secondary Education.  |  Evaluation Methods.  |  Standardized Tests.  |  Student Evaluation.  |  Test Use.  |  Testing Problems.  |  Out of Level Testing
Form/genre Collected Works, Serials.  |  Guides, Non-Classroom.
Other authors/contributors Elliott, Judy, author  |  Ysseldyke, Jim, author  |  National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN
Available From ERIC 


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