Individual Achievement Tests for Special Education Students

Tools for Assessment, Diagnosis and Program Design

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Individualized achievement tests are useful for assessing a student's academic abilities. They are designed to measure both pre-academic and academic behavior—from the ability to match pictures and letters to more advanced literacy and mathematical skills. They can be helpful in assessing needs, monitoring a student’s progress, diagnosing a student with a learning disability or identifying benchmarks on a student’s Individualized Education Program, which the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act requires special needs students to have.

A team made up of teachers, parents and others develop the program and update it periodically to meet students’ needs as they grow.

1. The Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement

The Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement is another individualized test that measures academic areas and is appropriate for children from the ages of 4 to young adults to 20 and a half. The tester finds a base of a designated number of consecutive correct answers and works to a ceiling of the same incorrect consecutive answers. The highest number correct, minus any incorrect responses, provide a standard score, which is quickly converted into a grade equivalent or age equivalent. The Woodcock Johnson also provides diagnostic information as well as grade level performances on discrete literacy and mathematical skills, from letter recognition to mathematical fluency.

1. The Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills

The Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills is another well-known, well-accepted criterion based and normed individual achievement test.

The Brigance provides diagnostic information on reading, math and other academic skills. As well as being one of the least expensive assessment instruments, the publisher provides software to help write IEP goals based on the assessments called Goals and Objective Writers Software, which sells for $59.95.

4. KeyMath 3 Diagnostic Assessment

KeyMath 3 Diagnostic Assessment is both a diagnostic and progress monitoring tool for math skills. Broken into three areas: Basic Concepts, Operations and Applications, the instrument provides scores for each area as well as each of the 10 subtests. Along with the flip chart books and test booklets, KeyMath also provides scoring software, to generate scores and reports.