Blind/Low Vision Assessments

August 23, 2017

ELPA21 has just concluded a successful trial run of a new standard setting process that links the performance expectations for English Learners who are blind or have low vision (BLV) to the same scoring scale that is used for the general assessment population. Traditionally, assessments have simply overlaid scoring expectations for students who are sighted onto students who use Braille, without use of a standard procedure to illustrate that this was a valid application of the scale. That traditional approach has failed to consider that the cognitive or English language proficiency demands of test items may be increased by the adaptation of the items to an accessible format, Braille or otherwise. Since so few students take assessments that have been adapted for students who are BLV, it has previously been considered that setting independent cut scores for these tests, separate of the standard version of the assessment, was not feasible due to the low student count. This new innovation in cut score scaling for a Braille version of an English proficiency test has shown excellent promise as a method for providing valid student score reports for those students whose test forms need to be accommodated to meet their needs. (Michelle McCoy)