MCAS Performance Appeals for Students with Disabilities
Chapter 140 of the Acts of 2003, Section 119, which was enacted on November 26th and took effect immediately, amends the MCAS performance appeals process for students with disabilities. The law makes clear that students with disabilities, like all other students, must meet the state standards for the competency determination. The amendments relate only to the MCAS performance appeals process for students with disabilities. I want to call to your attention some of the key changes.
Students with disabilities are no longer required to attain a score of 216 on the grade 10 MCAS test to be eligible for a performance appeal. Like all students, however, they must demonstrate through their work that their knowledge and skills in the subject area of the appeal meet the competency determination standard (equivalent to the 220 Needs Improvement level on the grade 10 MCAS test).
The superintendent must file an appeal on behalf of an eligible student with a disability if the parent (or the student who is age 18 or older) requests it. The superintendent may initiate on his or her own an appeal for an eligible student with a disability with the consent of the parent (or the student who is age 18 or older).
The superintendent must submit documentation or affirm that the student has met or is on track to meet local graduation requirements, and that the student's expected graduation is supported by the IEP Team (if any), as indicated on the IEP form.
If the "cohort group" (i.e., the comparison group of students who took the same sequence of courses) is too small to compare adequately the student's work with that of other students for the purposes of the performance appeal, the superintendent may contact the Department about the use of an "expanded" cohort worksheet; or submit a portfolio of the student's current or cumulative work as specified by the Commissioner, sufficient to demonstrate that the student's knowledge and skills in the subject area of the appeal meet or exceed the competency determination standard.
At the request of the student's IEP Team (if any) and upon consent of the parent, the superintendent shall include with the performance appeal additional documentation identified by the IEP Team that indicates the student's knowledge and skills in the subject area. The superintendent shall also include in the appeal other supporting information relevant to the determination as to whether the student's knowledge and skills in the subject area of the appeal meet or exceed the performance level established by the Board. Supporting information may include work samples, scores of the student on other standardized tests in the subject area(s), evidence of acceptance to college courses, or other evidence of academic achievement which demonstrates that the student meets the competency determination standard.