SCHOOL LEADER SERIES
Working with IEP Teams to Make State Assessment Participation and Accessibility and Accommodations Decisions
School leaders provide critical leadership to Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams. Their role is especially vital when teams make state assessment participation and accessibility decisions for students with disabilities. Annually, at a minimum, a student’s IEP team, which includes parents or guardians, determines which state assessment is most appropriate. The IEP team also identifies which accessibility features and accommodations a student needs, if any, to participate in the assessment. This resource focuses on information that school leaders can provide to support IEP teams as they make decisions about participation, and accessibility and accommodations, on state assessments.
It is important for school leaders to ensure that all IEP team members have the knowledge they need to make well informed decisions about state assessment participation and accessibility. It is also important that IEP teams know what to consider and what not to consider when making state assessment participation decisions and selecting accessibility features and accommodations for the state assessment.
What should school leaders ensure IEP teams do when making decisions about state assessment participation?
It is important for school leaders to ensure that every student’s IEP team:
What factors must IEP teams not consider when making assessment participation decisions for students with disabilities?
The IEP team should not determine participation in state assessments solely based on:
What can school leaders do to ensure that IEP teams select appropriate accessibility features and accommodations for students with disabilities?
Provide professional development training to school members of the IEP team in: the purpose of accessibility features and accommodations; who may use them and when; and how to select appropriate instructional and assessment supports for each student with a disability, including English learners with disabilities.
Ensure that all IEP team members, including parents and guardians, have access to and understand state policies on accessibility and accommodations; provide translations and interpreting services when necessary.
Remind teams to use data-informed decision making to select accessibility features and accommodations, based on specific evidence regarding an individual student’s needs, to reduce the effect of a student’s disability.
Talking Points for School Leaders
School leaders should customize these talking points to meet their specific school contexts.
The information in this resource reflects the Professional Standards for Educational Leaders 2015 (Standard #8) and Promoting Principal Leadership for the Success of Students with Disabilities.
CCSSO’s Assessment, Standards, and Education for Students with Disabilities (ASES) and School Leadership Development and Supports (SLDS) state collaboratives made important contributions to this document.
Hinkle, A. R., Lazarus, S. S., Hall, S., Warren, S., Thurlow, M. L., & Liu, K. K. (2021). Working with IEP teams to make state assessment participation and accessibility and accommodations decisions (School Leaders Series #3). Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) & National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO).
The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, Bureau of Indian Education, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions. CCSSO provides leadership, advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.
The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were partially developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Offices within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Project Officer: David Egnor