Special Education Teachers' Perceptions of Arizona's Alternate Assessment
AuthorWilliams, Leila E.
AdvisorChalfant, James C.
Committee ChairChalfant, James C.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe literature reports controversy among teachers about the value of an alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD) (Kampfer, Horvath, Kleinert, & Kearns, 2001).The purpose of this study was to investigate the perceptions of special education teachers about the value and implementation of the Arizona Alternate Assessment (AIMS-A) for instructional planning.Twelve elementary special education teachers from three school districts in Southern Arizona were placed in one of two focus groups. They were asked questions about the value of the alternate assessment, the impact on instructional planning, the allocation of time to complete the assessment, and the usefulness of the data collected for the alternate assessment. Later, in-depth interviews were held with three of the 12 teachers representing each of the districts. The teachers' responses to the questions asked in the focus group and interview sessions were tape-recorded, transcribed, and organized into themes.Results revealed four major themes and 11 sub-themes. Most teachers valued the AIMS-A information in guiding their teaching. Some teachers, however, believed the instrument did not accurately assess students with the most severe disabilities. Teachers reported the assessment helped guide their instructional planning. The limited time allocated during the school day to complete the assessment resulted in an additional burden on teachers' personal time. Teachers found documenting and collection data throughout the school year was necessary to be able to accurately assess students during the spring testing period. Most of the teachers found the progress data useful.Six recommendations for State (SEAs) and Local Education Agencies (LEAs) resulted from the implications. The first recommendation is to acquire positive teacher perceptions and support for the AIMS-A by providing teachers with a thorough understanding of the benefits of the assessment. A second recommendation is for LEA administrators to assist teachers in finding time to administer the AIMS-A. The third recommendation is that the LEA's must provide in-service training. The fourth recommendation requires modification of existing policies when needed. The fifth recommendation is to create a state-wide data base that articulates student progress on the AIMS-A. The final recommendation is to modify existing policies where needed.
Degree ProgramSpecial Education