Mastery achievement of mildly handicapped students on Florida's statewide student assessment test, part II

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Mastery achievement of mildly handicapped students on Florida's statewide student assessment test, part II
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Thesis:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1986.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 152-158).
Statement of Responsibility:
by W. Bee Crews.
General Note:
Typescript.
General Note:
Vita.

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University of Florida
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MASTERY


ACHIEVEMENT OF MILDLY HANDICAPPED
ON FLORIDA'S STATEWIDE STUDENT
ASSESSMENT TEST. PART II


STUDENTS


BEE CREWS


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL
FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE 0
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY


UNIVERSITY


OF FLORIDA


1986




















ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


The task


of acknowledging


the many people


who encouraged


supported me


during


past


three


years


is difficult


at best,


to the large


number


of friends,


relatives,


acquaintances


gave me


their


limitless


gestures


of goodwill.


shall


mention


a few


groups


and a few individually.


First,


must


state


affection


and appreciation


for my family.


My mothe

in time


not only


his humor,

whenever c


and father,


of need


a parent,


Clara


or doubt.


but a best


affection,


:racks


appeared


and Ralph


mother


friend.


support

in my re


Clark, have

has been and


Roger,


by making


solve.


me "get

extend a


never


continues


brother,


deserted me


to be


has shared


my act tog


special


ether"


thank


to each


of these


three


special


people.


Second,


would


like


to acknowl


edge


friends.


It is


a great


comfort


to realize


that


these


people


number too many


to mention.


affection


appreciation


to each


every


one of


friends.


Two particular


individuals


have


to be singled


out;


Lori


Korinek


Lee Clark.


Lori


and I


began


doctoral


studies


toge


their


and have


finally


both


completed


our programs.


Her friendship


is truly


most













significantly


success.


He must


also


be commended


for his ability


to turn


the appropriate


phrase


at the


appropriate


time.


Both


Lori


and Lee


are friends


for life.


Finally,


would


like


to recognize


those


professional


people


whose


support


made


the actual


progression


through


this


doctoral


program


possible:


Stuart


Schwartz


(chairman),


Bob Algozzine,


Bill


Jim Hensel,


Rex Schmid,


Larry 0


Shea


and Leila Cantara.


these


people


must


have


special


acknowledgement.


Dr. Schwartz


offered


professional


and personal


support


and leadership


throughout


this


program.


cannot


imagine


another


chairman.


Ms. Cantara


is a


good


friend


with


expertise


in many


areas


and I


thank


her for her


assistance


and encouragement.


past


three


years


have


been


peppered


with


feasts


and famine.


Without


the folks


mentioned


above


and countless


others,


the famines


would


have


been more


devastating


and the feasts


would


surely


not have


been


so sweet.


extend


thanks


to all.




















TABLE OF CONTENTS


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

ABSTRACT


CHAPTER I


INTRODUCTION


S. .. 9 S 0 0 1


Background or Need for Minimum Competency
Differing Interpretations of Minimum Comp


Legal


e


Testing .
tency Testing


Concerns


Handicapped Students
Florida's Interpretat
Statement of the Prob


in Minimum Competency


ion of Minimum Competency


Testing Programs


Testing


Purpose
Justification


Inclusion or Exclusion


Criteria Used to Determine the Accommodation of


Students


Implications for Handicapped
Concluding Statements
Limitations
Delimitations
Definitions
Summary


CHAPTER II RE

Introduction
Basic Concepts


Students


VIEW OF THE LITERATURE


* . .
a .


The Definition of Competencies
The Specification of Minimum Competencies


The Testing of Minimum Competencies
Validity)


or Standard


(Reliability and


Litigation Stemming From the Minimum Competency Movement


Appropriate Use of Competency


Tests is Constitutional


There Must Be Adequate Notice Given to


Students


Competency Tests May Not Carry Forward the Effect


Handicapped


w













Conclusion


Minimum Competency and Handicapped Students . .
Handicapped Students' Participation
Test Modifications and Accommodations for Handicapped


Students


Diploma or Certification Issues
Closing Discussion


CHAPTER III


Florida


METHOD


s Statewide Assessment Program


Background . . . . . .
Standards and Skills . . . . .
Mastery of Standards . . . . .


Revised Cut-Off Score for


SSAT-II


Description of Design
Statements and Specific
Data Analysis
Subjects
Concluding Statements


Questions Addr


esse


CHAPTER IV


RESULTS


Presentation of Data
Performance of Groups
Rank Ordering


on Standards


Skill by Skill Analysis
Three Samples of Handicapped Student
Nonhandicapped Students


Versus One


ample


Performance Among Various Categories of Handicap
Summary of Results
The Nonhandicapped Sample
The EH and the SLD Samples
The EMH Sample
The Chi-Square Analysis


CHAPTER V


SUMMARY,


DISCUSSION, AND


IMPLICATIONS


Summary
Statement of the Problem


Description of Design
Data Analysis .
Subj ects . .
Discussion . .


Performance on the Two Standards


Nn thh emn 1 -


. . . . *


(Communication and


- - 4 4 a a a












APPENDIX A


ELIGIBILITY
PLACEMENT


CRITERIA


FOR SPECIAL


EDUCATION


STATE


OF FLORIDA


RULES


REFERENCES

BIOGRAPHICAL


SKETCH



















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy


MASTERY ACHIEVEMENT OF MILDLY HANDICAPPED STUDENTS
ON FLORIDA'S STATEWIDE STUDENT


ASSESSMENT TEST,

By


PART II


Bee Crews


flay,


1986


Chairman:


Stuart E.


Schwartz


Maj or Department :


Special Education


The development of many


large scale minimum competency testing


programs throughout the country has caused concern for the special


testing needs of handicapped students.


Participation of handicapped


students in statewide minimum competency testing programs was the


basic issue under investigation in this study.


Using equal samples


(n=300 each) of handicapped


(emotionally handicapped,


specific


learning disabled, and educable mentally handicapped) and

nonhandicapped students, the investigator made comparisons among


handicapping conditions and between handicapped students and their

nonhandicapped peers on specific skills and standards included on


Florida's Statewide Student


Assessment Test


AI*JJ cl CIl Jl^ A L 1 .


Pa-rt


II (SSAT-IIl.












equal random samples of four groups of students on skills and standards


included on the SSAT-II.


A second comparison was made among the four


samples using the chi-square test of association.


This nonparametric


analysis strategy was employed to determine the association between


categories of samples and responses


(passed,


failed,


not tested).


Due to the


size


of the four samples


(n=300 each group) and the


large


variation among the performances of certain samples,


a difference of


more than 10 percentage points on skills achieved was determined by

the investigator to indicate significance without further statistical


analysis.


With this criterion,


a second chi-square procedure was


necessary only in comparing the samples of emotionally handicapped


and specific learning disabled


(SLD)


students'


skill achievement.


The chi-square analysis resulted in significant association


between categories and responses.


It was determined that nonhandicapped


students fared better than those handicapped students on all measures

with results for SLD and EH students more closely approaching those


of the nonhandicapped sample.


Weak performances and significantly


lower rates of achievement prompted concerns about the inclusion of


educable mentally handicapped


(EMH)


students in minimum competency


testing programs.



















CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION



In the mid-1970s state legislatures thrust minimum competency

testing on public schools to insure that all high school graduates


attained a given level of literacy


(Klein,


1984).


The purpose of


this research was to investigate this mandated educational assessment

program as indicated by a comparison of the performance of three

equal samples of mildly handicapped and one equal sample of


nonhandicapped students on Florida's State Student Assessment


Part II.


Test,


To complete this type of research it was necessary to look


at current questions confronting educators involved in the


implementation of such innovative programs.


background or need for such programs,


These questions included


(b) differing interpretations


of such programs,


legal concerns,


the role of handicapped


students in these programs,


and,


finally,


the State of Florida's


interpretation of minimum competency testing.


Background or Need for Minimum Competency


Testing


The enthusiasm for competency tests stems from a belief that the


testing of essential


skills and competencies will help raise academic


t-^ n .nnn rt nel : nn-vnnnrn nn'jt 1 al o (no P. Mi 1+ n l rr rT rn T


1Q781


(fIn PV Msrlnone












1978,


160).


The rhetorical appeal of an educational restoration


rested on the widely accepted premise that the innovations of the


1960s and early 1970s had succeeded in diluting the quality of

public schooling. Schools were accused of substituting "frills and


fancies" for the "sweat of learning"


(Rickover,


1979,


160),


a return to the roots of American education,


which were thought to


have been compromised, soon came to mean a return to basics which

could be effectively measured. It was within this context that


legislation designed to promote the efficient assessment of teacher


and student competencies proliferated and,


by the end of the


1970s,


minimum competency testing


(MCT) was implemented in a majority of


states


(Pipho,


1979b).


Differing Interpretations of Minimum Competency


Testing


Generalizing about the impact of minimum competency testing is

complicated by the fact that such testing programs differ both within


and among the states.


But all such programs share certain


characteristics.


First,


each program requires students to compete


against a cutoff score that has been chosen as the standard below

which students may not score and still be considered competent in


the subject matter covered by the test.


Second,


the tests have


important consequences for the test takers.


Consequences to students


who achieve the minimum standards may range from the receipt of a


high school diploma,


or certificate of special recognition,












retention,


or the receipt of a certification of school attendance


instead of a high school diploma


(Perkins,


1982).


Individual states differ in their articulation of competency


requirements.


Florida,


Colorado


, and Utah exemplify the range of


differences in this regard.


Florida legislation imposes uniform


statewide standards for testing of basic skills and functional

literacy in a competency certification program encompassing assessment,


grade promotion, and graduation.


Colorado


legislation makes the


local


district requirement of competency tests contingent upon certain


provisions of benefit to the student.


A state board ruling in Utah


establishes a competency-based graduation requirement;


localities


formulate standards, measurements,


and grades


(Baratz,


1980).


As a


natural outgrowth of such wide range educational program reforms,


significant legal and fundamental fairness problems arise.


These


problems are inherent in many MCT


programs,


particularly those that


impose responsibility or serious sanctions directly on students for


test failure


(McClung,


1978).


For example,


early results from minimum


competency testing programs indicate that members of disadvantaged


minority groups perform less well overall than do white,


students


middle-class


Competency tests used to make critical decisions about


awarding diplomas or grade placement may,


therefore,


result in new


forms of racial segregation,


discrimination, and the denial of


federally guaranteed constitutional and statutory civil rights


(Palardy,












Legal


Concerns


Only


limited


attention,


legally


or academically,


has been paid


to the special


problems


of handicap


students


in mandated minimum


competency programs


concerning the


(McClung


education


Pullin,


1978).


of the handicapped


Federal


(The


requirements


Education


of All


Handicapped


Children


Act,


PL 94-142)


not address


issue


mandated minimum


competency


testing,


and no policy


interpretations,


either


formal


or informal,


have


been


issued


the Department


Education


concerning


the role


of mandated


statewide


minimum


competency


testing in the education

standards. Consequently,


of handicapped

the questions


students


under


surrounding


the federal


minimum


competency


testing


and the participation


of handicapped


students


are multifold.


Handicapped


Students


in Minimum


Competency


Testin


Programs


Among


many


issues


involved


with


handicapped


students


participating


in minimum


competency


testing


programs


are the


nature


extent


of accommodations


afforded


to exceptional


students


(Morrissey,


1980)


the inclusion


minimum


competency


test


requirements


within


individual


educational


plans


(Danielson,


1980


Fenton,


1980)


and the


difficulty


that


schools


will


have


in assuring


that


pupils


attain


given


level


of performance while


also


providing


for the special


needs


of the handicapped


(Ross


Weintraub


, 1980).


These


concerns


further


complicated


in reference


to the


impact


that


programs


will


have


on the long term


cation


economic


prospects


of handicapped


are












school diplomas be denied to MCT "failers" is


likely to have a


stronger adverse effect on exceptional students than on their


nonhandicapped peers.


Even with this controversy, however, a


majority of states have some form of minimum competency testing


program for all


students


(Pipho,


1983).


Florida's


Interpretation of Minimum Competency Testing


Through the Educational Accountability Act of 1976,


Florida established certain minimum competencies


the State of


in the basic skill


areas of reading,


writing,


and mathematics in grades


and 11


which would be assessed


(State Student Assessment


Test


, Part


SSAT-I).


The legislation also provided for the development and


administration of an additional


test for


11th grade students which


would measure the application of the basic skills to practical


problems


(State Student Assessment


Test,


Part


SSAT-II).


It is


this second part of the student assessment test that must be passed

in order for students to qualify for a standard diploma.

This investigation primarily focused on Part II of the Florida


State Student Assessment Test


(SSAT-II)


The investigation analyzed


the mastery achievement of four equal samples of students on the


SSAT-II.


1984


Comparisons were made between handicapped and nonhandicapped


students and among students included in the individual handicapping

conditions.

The remainder of this chapter supplies a framework for this













Statement of the Problem


In 1976


(Florida Educational Accountability Act),


the Florida


Legislature required all students to master (SSAT-I)

specified minimum performance standards in reading,


and apply (SSAT-II)

writing, and


mathematics in order to receive a standard State of Florida diploma


(Grise,


1980).


Although modifications in test format have been made


to accommodate certain handicaps,


handicapped students are tested and


expected to achieve mastery on the same content as regular education


students.


Ample information can be found in the


literature on


minimum competency testing; however,


little information concerning


the achievement of mastery among handicapped students is available.

The relationship of the levels of mastery achievement among three

samples of mildly handicapped students and one sample of nonhandicapped

students is the problem addressed in this research.

Purpose


One of the stated purposes of the Florida Statewide Student

Assessment Program is to collect and report information about student


achievement,


on selected basic skills,


in order to make decisions on


educational policies and practices.


Furthermore,


the information


from the assessment program is designed to make a contribution to the


success of students


(Florida Statewide


Assessment Resource Manual,


1979).


However,


little,


if any,


data have been reported making


comparisons and analysis of one particular poDulation with another.












Justification


Minimum competency testing to decide grade to grade promotion


or graduation from high school


continues to be one of the most


explosive,


as well as controversial,


issues on the educational


programming front


(Brickel,


1978;


Haney & Madaus,


1978;


Kohlfield,


1984;


Salganik,


1985).


This kind of controversy,


however,


has not


affected the popular support for minimum competency testing from state


legislators and members of state boards of education.


According to


a report by the National Association of State Directors of Special


Education


(1979),


as of January 1,


1979,


36 states


(72%) had some


sort of competency testing for both elementary and secondary


education.


Of those 36 states,


17 states


(34%) have


linked minimum


competency testing with graduation from high school.


States without


legislation were,


at that time,


considering such enacting requirements


either for promotion or graduation


(Neill,


1979).


Pip]

states.

skills,


ho


(1983) supplied more recent information on the individual


Of the 40 states that require competency tests in the basic

19 states require students to pass the test in order to


receive their diplomas


(a requirement either in effect now or to


become effective at a specified date in the future),


three other


states


link the passing of the test to graduation


(although not


dependent on passing the test),


and in the requirements of the remaining


18 states, diploma sanctions are ruled out or not mentioned.













in the abundance


of information


on minimum


competency


testing,


little


is available


on handicapped


students.


Some


issues


have


been


raised


but few have


students


addressed


in terms


comparisons


of providing


handicapped


guidance


with


in implementing


nonhandicapped


minimum


competency


testing


schemes


that


not deny


handicapped


students


equal


opportunity


an appropriate


education.


Among


many


issues


of how


handicapped


students


should


accommodated


in minimum


competency


testing,


the following


three


pertinent


questions


are included:


To what


extent


should


handicapped


students


be included


or excluded?


What


criteria


should


used for inclusion


or exclusion?


the implications


minimum


competency


testing


handicapped


students


critical?


Care


assure


that


programs


are designed


and implemented


fairly


and without d

accommodating


discrimination

handicapped


should


students.


given


If thi


to those pr

s assurance


ograms

is not


considered,


then


this


popular movement


is certain


to have


a negative


impact


on the lives


many


handicapped


people


(Ewing


Smith,


1981).


Inclusion


or Exclusion


Should

proficiency


handicapped

on minimum


students

competence


be made


measures


to achieve


as regular


same


education


students?


This


question


is complex


and extremely


debatable.












nonhandicapped students


(Patton,


Payne,


& Beirne-Smith,


1986).


concern of educators has added strength when such mastery is the


criterion for graduation (McClung,


1978).


The heterogeneity of handicapped populations,


educational abilities,


in terms of


prohibits reasonable expectation of systematic


inclusion or


exclusion of students.


Such a narrow approach would be


insensitive to the vast differences in handicapped students.

Different levels of functioning cannot be expected to result in equal

levels of achievement.


It appears to be reasonable that minimum competency testing,


it applies to handicapped students,


should be administered within a


framework that is meaningful


to each


student.


The nature and extent


of participation would need to be decided on an individual basis.

Some handicapped students would not be excluded whereas others would

need different standards of proficiency, and still other handicapped


students would have


little,


if any,


chance of achieving the necessary


proficiency


(Pullin,


1980).


Educators need more information on how


to establish different standards of minimum competency testing for


handicapped students to be used


of decisions,


(Olsen,


as a basis for making these kinds


especially when it affects promotion or graduation


1980).


Limited consensus can be found among states that have mandated

minimum competency testing requirements for high school graduation.












in 1979,


the National Association of State Directors of Special


Education reported of the


17 states in which minimum competency


tests were required for graduation,


six states


(35%)


required all or


selected categories of handicapped students to take the competency


test.


Eleven states


(65%) had not specified inclusion or exclusion.


Criteria Used to Determine the Accommodation of


Handicapped Students


When making decisions for accommodation,


several factors should


be considered:


The inclusiveness of the term "handicapped students."

The heterogeneity within each category of handicaps.


The wide variation in curriculum and instructional


goals


specific to a particular handicap.

The examination of the purpose of competency testing

programs before making decisions regarding handicapped

students.


It is


increasingly important for legislatures, state boards of education,


and local boards of education to recognize the inclusiveness of the


term "handicapped." The E

describes no fewer than 11


educationn of All Handicapped Children Act


categories of handicaps;


(1975)


speech handicaps,


mental retardation,


hard-of-hearing,


deaf,


visually handicapped,


severely emotionally disturbed,


health impairments,


orthopedically handicapped,


deaf-blind, multihandicapped,


other


and specific learning


A el T annrln a,? An n *rh+ *h0 *an ^hn +-nnh +1 T^ ^ n c; +* h-r noAyi 'i


/A -i r -il 1/













When

competency


planning

testing


for accommodating


programs,


two


handicapped


groups


students


of accommodations


in minimum

are cited;


handicapped


students


require


modification


of the


testing


handicapped


environment


students


(Grise,


1980),


who require


modification


curriculum and


instructional


goals


(Serow


O'Brien,


1983).


For the


group


that


requires


modification


of the testing


environment,


same.


curricular


same


and instructional


proficiency


goals


competency


remain


essentially


as for regular


students


could


be used


in making


graduation


decisions


or grade


promotions.


Some


students


would


need


differential


assessment


procedures


appropriate


for particular


handicaps


(for


example


tests


for visually


impaired


students


would


have


same


content


tape


recorders


rather


than


paper


and pencil


would


employed).


Such


modifications


would


not be


of paramount


significance


if the


performance on


a specific


skill


primary


concern,


not how the


test


was administered.


For those


handicapped


students


require


modification


curricular


and instructional


goals,


educational


programs


often


differ


noticeably


from


those


their


nonhandi capped


peers.


These


handicapped


students


are character


generally


lower


achievement


potential;


consequently


instructional


goals


focus


on lower


levels


skills


development.


Such


modifications


result


an inadequate


match












does not reflect content and level of instruction,


then the equity


of the test's outcome is suspect.

One approach in addressing this type of accommodation is to


test the same skill but at a lower


level of proficiency.


rationale of using differential standards of proficiency is that

the procedure takes into consideration different levels of

achievement potential between handicapped and nonhandicapped students.


If lower proficiency standards are employed,


these


lower standards


could be employed to decide graduation with a standard diploma.


For students with severe handicaps,


the educational program is


vastly different from the program for nonhandicapped students,


skill


achievement would not approach the standards needed to participate


in minimum competency testing programs.


In these


cases,


total


exemption would appear to be an appropriate determination and the


adverse effects would,


therefore,


be minimal.


The purpose of competency testing is another concern when

considering the inclusion or exclusion of handicapped students.


Ewing and Smith


(1981)


state that if the competency testing program


is used for diagnostic and remedial purposes,


then handicapped students


should be exempt.


Each student's individual


educational olan


(IEP),


as mandated by PL 94-142, defines remediation for a student based on


diagnostic information.


Conversely,


if minimum competency testing


is the basis of promotion and graduation,


a formal process should be













should


be made


as part


of the IEP


process


and used


as a basis


promotion


and graduation.


These


determinations


should


be the


responsibility


the individual


educational


planning


committee


(also


established


y PL 94-142).


This


individualized


approach,


the planning


committee,


would


maximize


participation


the deci


sion-


making process


and decrease


chances


of having


minimum


competency


testing


penalize


handi


capped


students.


Implications


for Handicapped


Students


uniform


competency


testing


requirement


as a prerequisite


a high


school


diploma


is a potentially


harmful


phenomenon


emerging


from


the minimum


competency movement.


This


practice


of linking


high s

to be

1980).


schooll


diploma


especially

Quite po


(certification)


harmful


to competency


for handicapped


ssibly numerous


students


students


will


requirements


(Ross


suffer


appears


Weintraub,


unnecessary


humiliation


as a result


test


requirements


that


are unfair


discriminatory.


It is also


likely


that


some


handicapped


students


will


drop


out rather


than


suffer


the humiliating


experience


stigmatizing


effect


of receiving


a differentiated


diploma


certificate


of attendance


that,


to handicapped


students,


would


appear


to have


labeling


same


could


effect


as labeling


affect


rest


the students


society


incompetent.


views


Such


the handicapped


students.


Postsecondary


education


training


programs


and employment


are also


likely


to be adversely


affected


(Franzosa,


1984).


Thus,












In an indirect manner,


unfair and discriminatory competency


testing practices could challenge the


legitimacy of special


education


programs for handicapped students


(McCarthy,


1983).


The implications


seem to be if handicapped students cannot achieve skills commensurate


with those of their nonhandicapped peers,


perhaps special


education


programs are of limited value in terms of preparing for success in


adulthood.


Some speculate that not all skills needed in adulthood


are basic skills


(Franzosa,


1984).


High school programs for


handicapped students often focus on developing social,


and vocational skills.


interpersonal,


A primary focus on academics would restrict


the handicapped student to an impractical


curriculum (Gillet,


1980).


Thus, many handicapped students would become casualties of an

education practice that was conceived with the nonhandicapped student

in mind.

The development of minimum competency testing programs that take

handicapped students into serious consideration is a major challenge


to the success of the competency testing movement.


Treatment of


handicapped people has improved tremendously in the past few years

as society has evidenced a sense of moral obligation to help persons

who have deficiencies that prevent them from achieving an ordinary


level of competency.


Consequently,


it does not appear


likely that


an educational practice that does not have practical application and

meaningful implications for handicapped people will receive sanction












Concluding Statements


In Florida,


one of the stated purposes of the state student


assessment program is to collect and report information about student


achievement on selected basic and practical skills in order to make

decisions on educational policies and practices. If this program is


to meet those stated objectives for improvement in decision making,


it becomes essential that comparisons between handicapped and

nonhandicapped students' performances on minimum competency tests

by made in order to add meaningful data concerning educational


policies and practices.


Limitations


This study was


limited to


10th grade mildly handicapped


(high


prevalence)


and nonhandicapped students enrolled in the State of


Florida's public school system.


Caution should be exercised in


extrapolating the results to other geographic areas or age


levels.


The vague definitions of mildly handicapped students and the specific

criteria used in the 67 school districts of the State of Florida for

placement of students into special education classes may contribute


to differences from other students similarly


criteria.


labeled by different


(Appendix A contains eligibility criteria used in two


districts, Alachua and Broward Counties,


in the State of Florida.)


Delimitations


The scope of this study has been delimited in a number of ways.













students must have participated in the 1984 statewide student


assessment program.


And,


finally,


the students must have selected


the standard diploma as the certificate of graduation.

Definitions


Mildly handicapped


(high prevalence).


For purposes of this


study, mildly handicapped refers to students who are members of


special


education programs in the State of Florida.


They have been


labeled educable mentally handicapped (EMH), specific learning


disabled (SLD),


and emotionally handicapped/disturbed (EH/ED).


Mental retardation


(mentally handicapped).


Mental retardation refers to significantly subaverage
general intellectual functioning existing concurrently


with deficits in adaptive behavior
during the developmental period.


, and manifested


(Grossman,


1973,


p. 5)


Specific learning disability.

Specific learning disability means a disorder in one or
more of the basic psychological processes involved in
understanding or in using language, spoken or written,
which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to


listen,


think,


speak,


read,


write,


spell,


or do mathematical


calculations. The term includes such conditions as
perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimum brain


dysfunction,


dyslexia,


and developmental aphasia.


term does not include learning problems which are primarily


the result of visual, hearing,


or motor handicaps,


mental retardation, or emotional disturbance,


or of


environmental,


cultural,


or economic disadvantage.


(U.S.


Office of Education,


1977b,


65083)


Emotional disturbance.

The term means a condition exhibiting one or more of the
following characteristics over a long period of time and


. -- 1


II








-* i i i __ -i _ T r r i a _












(c) inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under


normal


circumstances;


(d) a general pervasive mood of


unhappiness or depression;


or (e) a tendency to develop


physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or


school problems.


The term includes children who are


schizophrenic or autistic.


The term does not include


children who are socially maladjusted,


unless it is


determined that they are seriously emotionally disturbed.


(U.S.


Office of Education,


1977a,


42478)


The following definitions are adapted from the State of Florida


Department of Education,


Florida Statewide Assessment Resource Manual


(1979).


Basic skills.


The rudiments or fundamentals of academic


learning


defines the term basic skills.


These skills include the primary


elements of reading,


writing,


and arithmetic such as number concepts,


reading for the main idea,


simple punctuation,


etc.


Florida accountability.


Legislation initially enacted in 1971


and updated several


times but particularly in 1976 provided for


assessing the educational programs offered by Florida public schools


through the establishment of statewide basic


subsequent testing of


skills objectives and


student achievement of objectives at various


grade levels.


The 1976 legislation expanded the earlier


legislation


a nd provided for (a) the assessment of students in grades


(b) a district system of promotion


a state-level management


information system;


(d) passage of a test of functional literacy


as a


requirement for receiving a high school diploma; and


(e) a remedial


program for students who do not master the required minimum performance












Minimum student performance standard.


The performance standards


(broad content areas) were ultimately adopted based on the state


obj ectives established


as a result of the 1971


legislation and revised


in 1974.


Skills.


Two or more skills generally relate to each minimum


performance standard.


Each skill,


in turn,


is measured by several


questions or items, usually four or five.

Exceptional students. Section 232.246, Florida Statutes, made


provision for modification of test instruments and procedures for

exceptional students who chose to take the regular test rather than a


special


test as provided by Section 232.247,


Section 232.247,


Florida Statutes.


Florida Statutes.


This exceptional student


legislation provides an opportunity for five groups of exceptional


students


educable mentally retarded,


emotionally handicapped,


trainable


mentally retarded, deaf,


and specific learning disabled)


to be awarded


a special


diploma upon meeting standards developed for their


exceptionalit


Thus,


two types of diplomas are available for


graduation of exceptional students.


Standard diploma.


A standard diploma indicates the student has


mastered the 11th grade minimum performance standards


(State Student


Assessment Test, Parts


I and II) as well as all


district requirements


of his or her


exceptional


education program and has been certified as


having mastered all relevant state minimum student performance standards.













Summary


The participation


of handicapped


students


in minimum


competency


testing


programs


gives


rise


a number


of issues.


Three


of the


most


often


cited


are the following:


nature


extent


of accommodation


afforded


exceptional


students


participating


in MCT


programs


(Grise,


1980


Morri


ssey,


1980).


The inclusion


within


of minimum


the individual


competency


educational


test


plan


requirements


(Danielson,


1980


Fenton,


1980


Olsen,


1980).


The difficulty


that


schools


will


have


in assuring


that


pupils


attain


a given


level


performance


while


providing


for the special


needs


the handicapped


student


(Linn,


Madaus,


Pedulla,


1982;


Ross


Weintraub,


1980).


This


educational


controversy


is an ongoing


phenomenon.


Ewing


and Smith


(1981)


regard


the denial


of diplomas


to handicapped minimum


competency


failures

students.


as having


stronger


Furthermore,


adverse


concern


effects


is also


cite


than o

d when


n nonhandicapped


considering


handicapped

its adverse


student' s

effect on


performances


the long-term


on minimum

education


competency


testing


economic


prospects.


Even


before


these


current


issues


were


raised


Florida


began


compul


sory


statewide


assessment


program.


In 1976


(Accountability


Act) ,












writing,


and mathematics in order to receive a standard State of


Florida diploma


(Grist,


1980).


Although modifications


in test format


have been made to accommodate certain handicaps,


handicapped students


are tested and expected to achieve mastery on the same content as


regular education students.


This achievement of mastery for mildly


handicapped students when compared across handicapping conditions and

with nonhandicapped students on the 1984 Florida Student Assessment


Test


(Part II)


is the issue addressed in this research.




















CHAPTER


REVIEW OF


THE LITERATURE


Introduction


Since


1976,


a considerable


amount


space


in educational


journals


has been


devoted


to the conceptualization


and definition


of minimum


competency


testing


(MCT)


involves


the administration


of proficiency


tests


in order to


certify


that


minimum


competency


or proficiency


exists


with


regard


a set of knowledge


or skills.


tests


include


basic


know


grade


edge


level,


and skills


and do


learned


most


not attempt


students


cover


the full


or below


range


the eighth


of topics


included


in the high


school


curriculum.


Many


of these


programs


included


in larger


educational


programs


that


attempt


to make


provision


for diagnosis


and remediation


of achievement


deficiencies


before,


some


cases,


ultimately


denying


the student


a regular high


school


diploma


(Beard,


1979).


The enthusiasm


competency


tests


stems


from


a belief


that


testing of


essential


skills


competencies


will


help


raise


academic


standards


increase


educational


achievement


(Haney


Madaus,


1978).


In the late


1970s


this


sense


of d


declining


education


also


seemed


- *1----


I- __ _-J-- 1


- r, -i-


are


_1 1 ? -


m


L


___~___













graduates were less


prepared


than


before


to take


their places


in the


economy.


Colleges


and universities


found


that


incoming


freshmen


were


unready


for college


studies.


And millions


parents


were


satisfied with


the slight


academic


demands


made


on their school-age


children


(Lazarus,


1981).


States


Florida,


differ


Colorado,


in their

and Utah


articulation


exemplify


competency


range


requirements.


of differences


this regard.


Florida


legislation


imposes


uniform


statewide


standards


testing


certification

graduation.


of basic

n program

Colorado


skills


and functional


encompassing

legislation


literacy


assessment,


makes


grade


the local


in a competency


promotion,


district


requirement


competency


tests


contingent


upon


certain


provisions


of benefit


to the student.


state


board


ruling


in Utah


establishes


a competency-based


graduation


requirement;


localities


formulate


standards,


measurements,


and grades


(Baratz,


1980).


one assumes


that


minimum


competency


testing


a plausible


means


of bolstering


educational


standards,


many


questions


arise


regarding


implementation


(Kohlfeld,


1984).


As early


as 1977,


discussions


at four


regional


conferences


on minimum


competency


testing,


sponsored


the Education


Commission


of the States


the National


Institute of Education,


and the Carnegie Corporation


of New York,


focused


on the following


estions:


What


competencies


will


you require?












How many minimums will be established?


How high will


the minimums be set?


Will minimums be set for schools or for students?

What will be done with those who do not pass the


competency


tests?


(Brickell,


1978)


These questions appeared to take some things for granted and


overlook others.


That is,


they assumed that minimum competency testing


was a plausible tool for bolstering educational achievement,


but they


ignored the fact that adequate means to implement such schemes may


simply not be available.


Haney and Madaus


(1978) cited three such


unresolved, basic problems in implementing extensive minimum competency


testing programs as


the definition of competencies,


specification of minimal


testing of minimal


competencies or standards,


competencies


and (c)


(validity and reliability).


It is the consideration of these three basic problems that will


be discussed to supply a point of reference for the


last two topics


of litigation and the problems of handicapped students in mandated


minimum competency testing programs.


The organization of this


literature review will be as follows:


Basic concepts


The definition of competencies


The specification of minimal


competencies or standards


The testing of minimal


competencies


(validity and












Competency tests may not carry forward the effects

of past racial discrimination


A graduation test must reflect material


taught


e. Section 504 does not prohibit requiring handicapped

students to meet valid test requirements in order to

receive a regular diploma

Minimum competency and handicapped students


Handicapped students'


participation


b. Test modification and accommodations for handicapped

students

c. Diploma or certification issues

Closing discussion

Basic Concepts


The Definition of Competencies


The symbolic function of the term "competencies" is substantial;


however,


its exact meaning remains unclear.


Often it appeared to be


used according to a dictionary meaning "property or means of subsistence

sufficient to furnish the necessaries and conveniences of life"


(Lexicon Webster Dictionary,


1981,


206);


all students should


have sufficient means to furnish the necessaries and conveniences


of life by the time they


leave high school.


Elsewhere,


in the


minimum competency


literature,


there were references to "life skills ,"


"essential skills," or "survival skills." Yet, an


ly type of skills













is easy


to find


types


educational


experiences


which


have nothing


and skills
for the ex


functionally


to do with


instance.
is deeply


cellent


neces


skill


s--learning


The distinction


embedded


reason
sary.


that


To have


for learning


between


in our ordinary
it is meaningful


a "skill"


knowled


language
and


simply


have the ability


to execute


useful tasks


to publicly


agree


standards


performance.


the language


of minimum


competency t


testing


suggested


concern,


with


the broader


goals


of education,


more


with


narrow


issue


of skill


acquisition.


With


respect


to this


position,


other


critics


have


taken


issue


with


the "seductive


nature"?


the vocabulary


used


in minimum


competence


testing


programs


(Perkins,


1982).


Undefined,


perhaps


consideration,


undefinable


in discu


ssing


terms


minimum


are used,
competency


without
testing


programs,


and it is only when


one thinks


through


meaning
simplici


comply


and application
tv of MCT is st


4


exity


(Airasian


of such


ripped
et al.


terms


away


that


revealing


apparent


its true


1979,


Airasian


et al. also


raised


a concern


about


the particular


selection


competencies


suggesting


that


schools


have


attempted


identify


measure


competencies


that


cannot


be achieved


majority


of students.


The authors


asserted


that,


if this


would


be unfair


for the school


to expect


mastery,


and then


to penalize


students


not achieving


Often e

and at times

to questions


educatorss


and other


disappointed

concerning d


at this


efinable


interested


lack


skills


persons w

consensus


ere


surprised


regarding


or competencies


which


answers

adults


not


v













People


function


"essential


skills"


differently


in society.


of the librarian


Are we interested


or the


lawyer,


in the


the bureaucrat


or the baker,

be considered


con artist


as "functioning"


or the congressman?


society,


Would


or pardoned


prisoners

politicians?


Even


we could


reach


agreement


on what


constitutes


maximum


minimum


functioning


society,


their


determinants


are simply


well


understood.


The Specification


of Minimum


Competencies


or Standards


For any MCT


there


was not a natural


or obviously


correct


standard


or minimum passing


score


that


can be used


separate


the "competent"


from


the "incompetent.


Depending


on the difficulty


test,


the old familiar


correct


could


so lenient


that


almost


no one


would


fail


or so stringent


that


a passing


score


would


a very


rare


event.


Setting


minimal


competency


standards


remains


fundamentally


a judgmental


process


(Linn,


Madaus


Pedulla,


1982).


The fact


that


standards


depend


on human


judgment


was not


neces


sarily


a fatal


flaw;


however,


was unclear who


should


make


the judgments


or how they


should


be made


(Klein,


1984).


magnitude


of the


differences


was such


that


thousands,


not merely


handfuls


students


in a


medium-size


state


would


pass


test


and be labeled


"competent"


test


if the standard


and be labeled


were


"incompetent"


in one way,


if the standard


but would


were


fail


set in another


way (Koffler,


1980).












standard-setting procedures.


Each procedure was an apparently


reasonable candidate for the task of systematically combining

judgments to establish standards.

Three of the techniques were based on review and judgments


concerning individual


test items.


These three procedures were


sommonly known as the Angoff


(1971),


the Ebel


(1972), and the


Nedelsky


(1954) procedures,


named after the individuals who introduced


them.


These first three procedures each involved the review of


individual


test items by judges.


Teachers using the Angoff procedure


were asked to state the probability that a minimally competent student


would answer each item correctly.


Those using the Nedelsky procedure


were asked to identify distractors on the multiple-choice test items

that a minimally competent student should be able to recognize as


incorrect.


For the Ebel procedure,


teachers rated each item for


relevance and difficulty.


They then indicated the percentage of items


with each combination of relevance and difficulty rating that a


student would answer correctly to be minimally competent.


of these three methods,


For each


the judgments were combined to determine the


minimum passing score.


The fourth technique,


known as the contrasting-group method


(Poggio et al.,


1981),


starts with one group whose members have


previously been identified to be at


least minimally competent and a


second group with members who were judged not to be minimally












could be used to form the two contrasting groups.


Once the groups


were formed,


the passing score on the test was set


so that it best


identified the group in which the students were initially placed


Representative groups of Kansas teachers at grades


and 11 used one of the four methods.


More than 900 teachers were


involved in the process.


At every grade


level


there were


large


discrepancies among the passing


scores


arrived at by the four


different methods.


The discrepancies are clearly illustrated in


Figure 1,


which shows the number of students


would be classified


as failures according to the four different standard-setting methods.


At each of the five grades,


that is,


the Ebel method was the most stringent;


it resulted in the highest passing score and consequently


yielded the


largest number of failures.


the most lenient standard in each


case,


The Nedelsky method produced

resulting in the least number


of failures of the four methods.

passing among the four methods wer

difference between passing and fai


The differences in the number

e very large and would mean the

ling, being labeled "competent" or


"incompetent" for thousands of students.

Despite these serious consequences attendant on the setting of


the passing score,


there was no apparent superior basis for judging


one procedure over another.


Poggio et al.


(1981)


further stated that


"the use of a single method to set a performance standard is arbitrary

and neither the existing literature nor present data would support














Ebel


Thousands


SAngoff

\ Nedelsky

11-1 Contrast


Grade


Figure 1.


Failures with different standard-setting methods


based on Poggio et al.


(1981) reading tests.












the issue


(Glass,


1978a,


1978b;


Shepard,


1979,


1980).


Glass


(1978b)


pointed out that competence is a continuous trait and that attempts


to base a cut-off score or standard for all

of minimal competence will fail because "(I)


foundation in psychology;


individuals on a concept

it has virtually no


(2) when its arbitrariness is granted but


judges attempt nonetheless to specify minimal


competence,


they


disagree wildly"


251).


Jaeger, Cole,


Irwin,


and Pratto


(1980)


at the University of


North Carolina,


compared passing standards then in use in North


Carolina,


set by samples of teachers,


school administrators and


counselors, and registered voters.

the same standard setting procedure,


Each of the three groups used

which included three rounds of


rating individual


test items.


In each round of ratings the judges


were asked to review each test item and respond to the following


question:


"Should every regular high school graduate in North


Carolina be able to answer this item correctly?"


43).


In between


the first and second ratings


judges were given information about actual


student performance on each item and knowledge of the recommendations


made by other judges in their group.


rating,


After the second round of


the raters were also informed about the percentage of


students in the state that would pass if particular cut-off scores


were used.


Members of each group then gave a third and final set of


ratings which were used to determine the minimum passing


scores












Carolina high school students who took the test.


other hand,


Teachers,


recommended a minimum passing score of 95,


on the


which would


have failed 9% of the students.

principals and counselors, the


state,


The recommendation of the group of


standard actually employed by the


was in between those of the registered voters and the teachers.


About 21% of the students would pass


if the cut-off score were set by


one group of judges but would fail if it were set by another group.


In mathematics the discrepanci


were just as great,


but all


three groups recommended a standard that would have failed a much


larger percentage of students,


anywhere from 47% to


71% depending on


the group providing the recommendation


three groups recommended


much more severe standards than are actually used by the state).


Over half


.7%) of the students taking the test passed using the


standard set by the state and would have failed if the standard set

by the most stringent group of judges had been applied.


With such high discrepancies in passing


scores


established by


different methods


(as demonstrated by Poggio et al.


[1981]


in Kansas)


or by different groups of judges


(as demonstrated by Jaeger et al.


[1980]


in North Carolina),


it was difficult to


see how any particular


value can be defended.


Any value seemed arbitrary.


Maybe because


of this arbitrariness it was not surprising that a minimum passing


score often seems to be just picked out of the air.


In Florida,


example,


the minimum passing score on the Functional


Literacy












mathematics


1979)


tests


although


(Florida


protesting


Statewide As

and the first


sessment


"level


Resource Manual,

administration


showed


that


this


common


passing


score


resulted


a much


higher


failure


rate


in mathematics


than


in communication.


Florida


explanation


for this


outcome


was that


students


were


much


weaker


math


than


in communications


skills


(Florida


Flunks,


Time,


December


1977).


Another plausible


and simple


explanation


by Glass


(1978a)


was that


the discrepancy


the contractor who


between


built


test


math a

wrote


nd reading


harder


pass


items


rates


in math


was that


than


reading


At the Minimum


Competency Testing


Clarification


Hearing


Washington,


Robert


Ebel,


a measurement


expert


witness


for the


side,


was asked


basically


about


standard


standard-setting


setting


is a matter


problem.


of judgment,


He argued

and could


that

see no


avoiding


sons


House,


because,


are made on


1982).


even


the basis


in the highest


of informed


Further questioning


James


court


judgments

Popham, t


in the land,


(Thurston


he leader


pro team,


elicited


the opinion


from


Dr. Ebel


that


different


procedures


involve


different


assumptions


and different


judgments


hence


give


different


results.


Criteria


have


been


offered


by proponents


of MCTs


to help


decide

argued


which

simply


standard

that, i


setting procedure


f standards


should


are set openly,


be applied.


with


Popham


the involvement












set cut-off score; the decision makers who set the cut-off score


became the highest court in the


land.


Arbitrariness does not


necessarily mean that standards were set capriciously or mindlessly


(Popham & Lindheim,


1981).


However,


when passing scores were set


arbitrarily even by "good" or "well-intentioned" open procedures and


then could not be overruled in individual


cases,


children could be


hurt psychologically through labeling and/or materially through loss


of a diploma or by being retained in grade (Citron,


1982;


Linn et


1982;


McCarthy,


1983).


The Testing of Minimal Competencies


(Reliability and Validity)


The third and final consideration in basic concepts questioning

the minimum competency testing movement had to do with establishing


reliability and validity.


Until


the mid 1970


s, accepted procedures


for creating and interpreting tests centered primarily on I.Q.


achievement tests.


Minimum competency tests required new application


of these procedures to establish and insure reliability and validity


(Madaus,


1985).


Ronald Hambleton and his colleagues


(1978) described how


psychometricians and statisticians have combined old and new theories


to shape the use of minimum competency tests.


For example,


test


developers have traditionally calculated the reliability of test

items by comparing the performances of the highest- and lowest-


scoring segments of a given test population.


For minimum competency












mastered test content and another that had not previously been

exposed to the material.

Insuring the validity of minimum competency tests has become


a matter of legal


urgency as well as scholarly concern since the


landmark Florida court case,


Debra P.


Turlington


(5th Cir.,


1981).


Christine Citron


(1982), a specialist in school law with the Education


Commission of the States,


has written "The Fifth Circuit ruled that


the state must demonstrate that the material on the


(minimum competency)


test was actually taught in the state's classrooms in order to


establish the requisite content validity"


10-11).


Several researchers have suggested ways for school districts

to document the content validity of their minimum competency tests.


James Popham and Elaine Lindheim (1981)


have described two classes


of evidence that districts can offer the courts:


instructional


materials,


such as text books,


course syllabi,


and teachers'


lesson


plans;


and (b) descriptions of actual classroom transactions,


which


can range from elaborate electronic recordings to simple teacher or

student reports.


Two more strategies for


linking testing to instruction were


proposed by Airasian and Madaus


(1983).


In the first,


a detailed


taxonomy of skills and knowledge in a given subject-matter area was


created;


then the same taxonomy was used to analyze the content of


commercially available achievement tests.


The test that best mirrors












The second strategy that Airasian and Madaus suggested was


the use of experts to


judge the degree of overlap between instruction


and tests.


For example


teachers could estimate students'


opportunities


to learn the content of given test items.


To form such an estimate,


a teacher might rely on curricular materials and/or personal


instructional emphasis.


The important thing to remember is that


high school diplomas cannot be denied on the basis of tests that


require students to know material


challenged,


that has not been taught.


a school must be able to prove that test items matched


course objectives and classroom instruction.


McClung


(1977) discussed this issue in terms of curriculum


validity and instructional


validity.


The author asserted that


curriculum validity meant that minimum competency tests should


measure topics actually covered in the school curriculum.


This


issue


may be especially pertinent to


life-skills tests because


some of those skills may not be taught in school.


In addition,


McClung suggested that minimum competency tests have to be


instructionally valid,


that is,


topics in the curriculum must


actually have been taught to the students tested.


of course,


In practice,


how to determine whether or not a competency test is


instructionally valid might prove to be a problem. For example,

assuming that a student has been instructed in reading, would a test


that required reading in a format not directly included in the












Apparently other forms of measurement validity must be


considered.


Haney and Madaus


(1978)


stated,


"If a minimum competency


testing scheme is aimed at measuring not


life skills,


just academic skills


the predictive validity of the test in terms of life


skills will also be a relevant issue"t


470).


The authors


illustrated this validity issue with a minimum competency test most

people have taken--the written and performance portions of the


driver's


license examination.


Passing these tests certifies that


the applicant mastered the skills and knowledge regarded as necessary


for the safe operation of a motor vehicle.


Performance on the test


was not necessarily related to future driving performance.

Litigation Stemming From the Minimum Competency Movement


Courts traditionally have been reluctant to interfere with the

broad discretion vested in school officials to establish academic


standards and evaluate student performance (Greenhill v.


Bailey,


1975;


Mahavongsanan v.


Hall,


1976).


In 1978,


the United States Supreme


Court distinguished an academic determination from a disciplinary


action, noting that the former "judgment


is by its nature more


subjective and evaluative than the typical factual questions presented


in the average decision"''


(Board of Curators of the University of


Missouri


v. Horowitz,


1978).


The Court emphasized that academic


performance was properly assessed by professional educators who have

expertise in this area.








37



evaluation if pupils have not been informed of the assessment

criteria or provided sufficient notice of unsatisfactory performance


prior to the imposition of sanctions.


McCarthy also noted that


courts have intervened if students have been subjected to arbitrary

or discriminatory assessment practices.


Citron


(1982)


concurred with this change in posture by the


judiciary by noting the significant trend toward use of competency

testing by schools to help in placement of children or to determine


qualifications for graduation.


The few


cases


that have generated


court decisions continue to be


litigated in the


1980s.


"Some are


on appeal


to higher courts,


while others are back in trial


court for


a second round following an appellate court decision"


Despite the formative stage of this area of law the author cited at


least fiv

1.

2.

3.


e


legal principles that have emerged.


Appropriate use of competency tests is constitutional.

There must be adequate notice given to students.

Competency tests may not carry forward the effects of

past racial discrimination.


A graduation test must reflect material


taught.


Section 504 does not prohibit requiring handicapped

students to meet valid test requirements in order to

receive a regular diploma.


Appropriate Use of Competency


Tests is Constitutional












experts who challenged a newly enacted minimum competence law that


most of their fellow Floridians supported.


However


when Debra P.


v. Turlington was appealed,


the U.S.


Court of Appeals for the Fifth


Circuit found that the state's interest in establishing a functional


literacy examination was


legitimate,


so long as the implementation


procedure and the test instrument were fair.


The court held that


the state could require passage of a fair test as a diploma


requirement


(5th Cir.,


1981).


There Must Be Adequate Notice Given to Students


Adequate notice was perhaps the most well-established,


as well


as the most straight-forward principle to emerge from the judicial


decisions thus far (Citron,


1982).


Fair warning and opportunity to


prepare for a competency test must have been given to students.


the Debra P.


Turlington appeal,


the Fifth Circuit affirmed the


district court's ruling on this point


(i.e.,


lack of adequate notice).


The court reasoned that the test had been hastily constructed and


administered


(McCarthy,


1983).


Students had only


13 months'


notice


that they would have to pass the State Student Assessment


Test in


order to get a high school diploma. This was not enough time to

permit students to prepare for such a test, in the opinion of the


Fifth Circuit.


Debra P.


Other courts have also followed the


on this point.


lead set by


In Board of Education v. Ambach


Albany County,


1981) and Anderson v.


Banks


D. Ga. ,


1981)












sufficient the "24 months which passed between the notice and the


implementation of the diploma sanction.


Remedial courses were


provided during the period"


(520 F.


Supp.


at 506).


Competency Tests May Not Carry Forward the Effects of Past
Racial Discrimination


The court ruled that the waiting period was required to remove


the past history of racial discrimination.


Testing must not have a


racially discriminatory impact unless the defendants can show that

the disproportionate failure rate was due to some factor other


than "educational


deprivation" stemming from past wrongful policies


(Citron,


1982).


In Debra P.


the court noted that 20% of the black


students compared to less than


the 1979 tests;


2% of the white students failed


the court reasoned that the disproportionate failure


of the black students could be attributed to the


inferior education


opportunities provided for minority pupils in the state prior to


1971


(McCarthy,


1983).


While finding no present intentional


discrimination,


the court concluded that the state did not refute


that the test's disparate impact on black students was the result


of past intentional segregation.


Thus,


the immediate use of the


diploma sanction was found to be a violation of minority students'


rights under the equal protection clause,


Rights Act of 1964,


(Learner,


Title VI of the Civil


and the Equal Education Opportunities Act of 1974


1981).


A rfnlrlAin- i n TaCt Mud- DaF i c- Xn h-- tf I t* *-


-y n t- In T' rrl i ~l-












prerequisite to high school graduation in Florida.


The court


stipulated that the state must prove that the test has curricular


validity in that it


assesses


what actually has been taught in the


public schools


(Pullin,


1981).


This ruling was based on principles


of constitutional fairness derived from both the due process and


equal protection clauses of the Constitution


(Citron,


1982).


This


burden of showing curricular content validity existed irrespective


of any claims of racial discrimination.


The court emphasized that


if the state can prove that it has devised a fair test of what has


been covered in the instructional program,


the award of high school


diplomas can be conditioned on passage of the examination after a


proper phase-in period is provided


(Popham & Lindheim,


1981).


In Anderson v.


Banks


(1981)


a Georgia federal district court


applied the Fifth Circuit Appellate Court's


(Debra P.


Turlington


curricular validity standard in assessing a Georgia school district's


use of the California Achievement


Test


(CAT)


as a prerequisite to


receipt of a high school diploma.


The court concluded that school


authorities carried the burden of proof in establishing that the

"reliable and well-established test instrument"' actually covered what


had been taught in the schools


(McCarthy,


1983).


Section 504 Does Not Prohibit Requiring Handicapped Students to


Meet Valid Test Requirements in Order to Receive a Regular


Diploma


The Anderson court also examined the application of Section 504


I


Diploma












properly classified handicapped students who cannot meet those


standards because of their handicap


(McCarthy,


1983).


Anderson's


holding concerning the Section 504 claim was consistent with earlier

decisions in which no Section 504 violation occurred because students

who could not pass the test were therefore not "otherwise qualified."


Persons must have been "otherwise qualified"


in order to make a


Section 504 claim of discrimination,


on the basis of handicap,


under


Southeastern Community College v.


Davis


(1979).


Although special


students do not have an entitlement to a "regular" diploma under


Section 504,


those who completed their agreed-upon individualized


education programs are entitled to some form of certification


(Citron,


1982).


Thus,


Section 504 has been interpreted as protecting handicapped


children from discrimination in the "administration" of an MCT program,


or any other testing program for that matter.


But it does not


assure a handicapped child that a diploma would be awarded if academic

standards have not been satisfied.

Conclusion


Whether MCT programs will have primarily a positive or negative

impact on students and public education remains the subject of


considerable debate.


regardless of the merits of such programs,


most schools and students seem destined to be affected by them (Citron,


1982;


Learner,


1981; McCarthy,


1983).


Given the general disenchantment


with public education and demands for results in return for tax













measurable outcomes


(Baratz,


1980;


Haney & Madaus,


1978;


Lazarus,


1981).


Yet,


until


the numerous unresolved issues are adequately


addressed, MCT programs are likely to continue to generate

substantial controversy and legal activity.

Minimum Competency and Handicapped Students


The implementation of minimum competency testing


MCT)


in a


majority of states has raised questions about the participation of


handicapped children.


Among the issues involved are the nature and


extent of accommodations afforded to exceptional students


(McKinney,


1983; Morrissey,


1980)


the inclusion of MCT


requirements within


individual


educational plans


(Danielson,


1980;


Fenton,


1980


Olsen,


1980),


and more generally,


the difficulty that schools will have in


assuring that pupils attain a given level


of performance while also


providing for the special


needs of the handicapped student


(Ross &


Weintraub


, 1980;


Serow & O'Brien,


1983).


The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975


(Public


Law 94-142) and Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of


1973


(Public Law 93-112) encourage handicapped students to participate,


as fully as possible,


in all facets of educational programs, including


assessment


(Grise,


1980;


Ross & Weintraub,


1980).


These acts also


imply that handicapped students be protected when assessment takes


place


, that is,


the measurement should be influenced only by the


skill being measured, not by the handicapping condition


(McCarthy,












competency testing programs


(Grise,


1980; McClung F& Pullin,


1978;


Serow E O'Brien,


1983).


Federal


requirements concerning the education


of the handicapped (PL 94-142,


Section 504 of PL 93-112,


and the


regulations of the U.S.


Department of Education implementing those


laws do not address the issue of mandated minimum competency testing.


An examination of the federal standards,


however,


indicates several


circumstances in which the provisions of a state or


locally mandated


minimum competency testing program conflict with federal mandate


concerning the education of the handicapped student


(Pullin,


1980).


The remainder of this section,


addressing MCT


and handicapped


students focuses on the educational and legal issues facing educators

when high school students are required to pass a minimum competency


test to receive a high school diploma.


are (a)


The major issues addressed


to what extent should handicapped students participate in,


or be exempt from,


the testing program;


should tests be adapted


for individual handicapped students;


should differential diplomas


be awarded to handicapped students on the basis of test performance.


Handicapped Students'


Participation


States that link MCT mandates to high school graduation did not


have uniform procedures for dealing with handicapped pupils,


that


is, students who are receiving special education because of physical,


mental, or


severe


emotional disabilities


(Beckham,


1980).


In some


states,


certain categories of mentally handicapped children were












(IEPs).


In still other states,


all pupils were required to pass the


MCT to qualify for a high school


diploma (Learner,


1981).


For example,


since


1977,


North Carolina and Florida have required


exit competencies for graduation.


However,


the exceptional


child in


North Carolina


(except for the trainable mentally handicapped or


severely mentally handicapped)


it is optional for the exceptional


is required to take the test,


child in Florida.


whereas


Parents


students


18 years of age or older) may request that their child not


take the test in North Carolina and may request that their child be


allowed to take the test in Florida.


North Carolina's and Florida's


modifications were similar;


however,


their terminology differed


(Amos,


1980).


Another approach to modification was proposed by Olsen


(1980)


The author advocated the integration of minimum competency testing


and the


IEP process:


Rather than consider minimum competency testing and the
process as separate and distinct components of the


educational system,


there is a need for joint planning


among the testing and evaluation people,


special


education


administrators


, teachers,


and advocacy groups to define


those areas in which collaborative effort can take place.


Olsen supported his position by citing Vermont's multi-year plan


described by Hull,


Garvin,


and Withey (1979):


It assures a child's parents that graduation plans will be
worked out far enough in advance so that an alternate set


of requirements can be developed.


Most important,


* 0 I I 1 *












program on a


case


by case basis.


The individualized education program


(IEP) required for each child under PL 94-142 could be used as the

basis for recommending a student degree of participation in the


program.

above),


Such a procedure was employed in Vermont


California, Missouri, Massachusetts,


(as mentioned


and perhaps other


states.


Determining competency requirements through the IEP process


insured that handicapped students reap the benefits of a competency

program but be protected against the pitfalls of such a program by


the persons who develop the

According to McClung,


IEPs.

excluding handicapped students from


participation in the testing program violated the equal protection


clause of the U.S.


Constitution.


Furthermore,


Section 504 (PL 93-112)


prohibited the exclusion of handicapped persons from an educational

program or opportunity solely on the basis of a handicap.


In conclusion,


Pullin


(1980)


acknowledged that diplomas and


mandated tests were part of the regular education program and that

there should be no blanket prohibition of participation of the


handicapped student in the mandated program.


The author further stated


that sound educational practice does not necessarily require the full

participation of all handicapped students in minimum competency

testing programs.

The federal laws requiring full participation in mandated
programs are to be applied to each individual student, with
exemptions or modifications in the program permissible only








46



reiterated the need for meaningful evaluation assessing the student's


capabilities,


test,


the nature of the skills and knowledge covered on the


and the extent to which the student can reasonably be expected


to master the skills and knowledge on the minimum competency test.

Test Modifications and Accommodations for Handicapped Students


Once it has been determined that a particular handicapped student

was capable of mastering the skills and knowledge on the minimum


competency test,


educators must decide whether any special


accommodations must be made in order for students to take the test.

Decisions here confront the disparate goals of the current minimum


competency and special education movements.


Those who espoused


minimum competency testing sought to impose at least a minimum level


of homogeneity on the student population.


Special


educators focused


on individual


differences


(Pullin


, 1980).


Handicapped pupils could not be denied the opportunity to take a


competency examination to qualify for a high school diploma,


but the


scope of the school district's responsibility to make accommodations

in MCT programs for disabled students remained unclear (McCarthy,


1983).


If the only accommodation for the handicapped student that


can be expected,


in most testing programs was a variation of format


for test administration


(Citron,


1982),


the modified tests must be


valid measures of the minimum competencies being assessed (American


Psychological Association,


1974).


Test givers were required by












whether a test format for the handicapped student required even

more extensive proof of validity by test givers with particular

proof that the accommodations made did not impair the validity or

reliability of the test.


In contrast to some other states,


North Carolina required the


participation of the majority of its handicapped pupils.


For example,


while Florida exempted those students classified as mentally retarded,


emotionally handicapped,


learning disabled,


and hearing impaired


(Grise,


1980),


only those students classified as trainable and


severely retarded were exempted from the North Carolina MCT program


(Serow & O'Brien,


1983).


In North Carolina handicapped children whose


parents requested an exemption received only the certificate of


attendance upon graduation.


Otherwise,


test adaptations for the


handicapped included provision for audiocassettes,


large print,


extended test periods, ar

in performance standards.


id other physical modifications,


On the whole,


not adjustments


these adaptations appeared to


be equivalent to those used in other states


(Amos,


1980).


Florida began a compulsory statewide assessment program with its


1976 Educational Accountability Act.


All students were required to


master specified minimum performance standards in reading,


and mathematics.


writing,


No provisions were made for handicapped students


until the


law was amended in 1977.


At that point,


exceptional


students classified as educable mentally retarded,


trainable mentally












graduation or promotion purposes.


These students could, however,


participate in the testing program if they chose to receive a regular


diploma


(Grise,


1980).


For exceptional students who did participate,


either by choice


or mandate,


special


testing adaptations in Florida were among the


most extensive of any of the states


special


(see Appendix B).


test adaptation (test modification),


types of modifications


(flexible scheduling,


Under one


Florida offered five

flexible settings,


recording of answers, mechanical aids, and revised formats).

Grise concluded his discussion of test modifications with a

question of whether a MCT program should accommodate this sort of


variation;


"the answer must be determined through clarification of


state


legislation"


189).


The author cited both Virginia legislation


and New York


legislation as having made allowances in their competency


testing programs to permit certain handicapped students to be

administered the test entirely through auditory means.

Diploma or Certification Issues


Questions surrounding diplomas or certificates of graduation

for handicapped students were closely related to the questions of test


modifications,


participation, and/or exemption discussed earlier.


If it was decided that the standards were not appropriate for a student,


or if the student was procedurally accommodated,


should the


student


receive the same diploma as his or her nonhandicapped peers?


Should













that if MCT was a requirement for graduation,


there must be


alternatives to the diploma.


"In some states,


there is a diploma


for completing all requirements


including passage of the MCT


there is a certificate of attendance for completing all


course


requirements without passing the MCT"


195).


Fox and Weaver


(1981)


clarified this position of diploma or certificate by adding


that the intention of such a procedure was for certificates of


competency (or attendance)


to reward effort and honestly reflect


the capabilities and progress of each student.


"The use of both


diplomas and certificates is expected to help strengthen the


measurement process and restore authenticity to the diploma"


431).


Florida was again cited because of the variety of options


offered in its statewide MCT programs.


Handicapped students in


Florida who meet the regular minimum student performance standards

were awarded the same standard diploma as all graduating nonhandicapped


students


(Grise,


1980).


Handicapped students who master special


standards received a special


diploma


(Ross & Weintraub,


1980).


This


diploma was nearly identical in appearance and terminology to the


regular diploma.


Grise also cited a third option in Florida;


certificate of completion which was given upon program completion

with failure to demonstrate mastery of the minimum standards.

Discussions of these options surround the question of the value


or stigma of being awarded anvthin bhut a standard dinloma. The













reported no stigma whatsoever attached to the special diploma.


Employers,


community college programs,


and the military service had


no reservations about students with special diplomas.


Thus, Florida


students with either a standard or a special diploma were regarded,


in the state,


as bona fide graduates,


regardless of placement as


regular or exceptional


(special) students.


Florida's policy of offering the various diplomas and certificates


is consistent with current legal views.


Citron (1982)


As previously discussed,


stated that "although special students do not have an


entitlement to a regular diploma under Section 504,


those who complete


their agreed-upon individualized education programs are entitled to


some form of certification"


Closing Discussion


For the past nine years the advantages and disadvantages of minimum

competency requirements for students have been a source of continual


debate.


Competency tests have been criticized for their alleged bias


against racial and ethnic minorities and handicapped populations


(Anrig,


1985).


In addition,


the subjective identification of


standards or cut-off scores has been paired with these criticisms


(Madaus,


1981).


of students'


Critics have also claimed that accurate assessment


skill mastery cannot be provided,


given the current


state of the art in testing technology (Glass,


1978a; Madaus,


1985).


Thus grade promotion or the award of a diploma should not depend on












process,


and teacher recommendations


(Amos,


1980; Olsen,


1980;


Pullin,


1980).


Another common criticism of MCT was that the focus on minimum

requirements may be destructive of the principle of intellectual and


personal meritocracy in education


(McClung,


1977).


It has been


argued that MCT will result in a narrowing of the curriculum because


teachers and students will


tend to emphasize preparation for the test


and slight areas such


as abstract reasoning,


creative expression,


the arts.


Moreover,


concerns have been voiced that the term


"competence'' is misleading.


There were inadequate data to substantiate


which competencies were necessary to insure students'


future success


as citizens and workers


(Franzosa,


1984;


Hasazi


et al.,


1985;


Perkins,


1982;


Pullin,


1980).


These assertions were countered by advocates of MCT arguing that

curriculum may need to be more clearly focused to insure that


students attain minimum proficiency in basic skills


(Popham &


Lindheim,


1981).


Some recent positive indications were reported


by Popham,


Cruse, Rankin,


Sandler,


and Williams


(1985).


The authors


noted increased mastery achievement among handicapped and nonhandicapped


students in one city,


Detroit,


and three states, Maryland


, Texas, and


South Carolina.


Other advocates also claimed that proficiency testing


provides a vehicle for early identification of children's deficiencies


so that appropriate remediation can be provided


(Anrig,


1985;


Spady,













Since


its establishment


in 1977,


only


limited


attention


been


given


directly


to the problems


of handicapped


students


mandated


minimum


competency


testing programs


(McClung


Pullin,


1978).


Mandated


minimum


competency


testing


programs


used


as part


of the


requirement


receipt


a regular


high


school


diploma


presented


substantial


legal


and policy


issues


for special


educators.


The inherent


conflict


between


the homogeneity


sought


test


givers


and the individualization


sought


an increasing


number


special


educators


indicated


one of the


numerous


conflicts


about


the role of


such


programs


in the education


of the handicapped


student


(Pullin,


1980).


was the intention


in this


literature


review


to investigate


a number


of issues


with


reference


to mandate


minimum


competency


programs.


Although


this


endeavor


does


not include


all the


issues


or literature


addressing


this


topic,


it does


attempt


to present


indepth


investigation


into


those


unresolved


questions


that


continue


to plague

was given


the minimum

to the role


competency


of MCT


testing


movement.


in the education


of han


A special

dicapped


focus

students.


It is the dearth


of information


concerning


the actual


performance


of handicapped


students


that


supplies


the basic


justification


this


study.


This


study


provides


a comprehen


sive


comparison


of the


performances


of equal


samples


of handicapped


(emotionally


handicapped,


specific


learning


disabled,


and educable


mentally


retarded)


students


-- r








53



competency testing requirement for high school graduation with a

standard diploma as the certificate of achievement.



















CHAPTER III
METHOD



The "back to basics" movement, at the foundation of state


assessment programs,


is no accident and no "bandwagon," but a well


documented academic trend.


The simple fact that


37 states had


passed some form of minimum competency testing for students prior to

1983 adds to the current concern and challenge facing special


education

Assessment


(Pipho,

Test


1983).


Since the use of Florida's State Student


is current policy,


comparative studies of


performance would appear to be of value for both testing as well


as current and future educational programs


(Grise,


1980).


Furthermore, an investigation into relationships between skills and

standards mastered by students would give indications of program

outcomes and the validity of this instrument to consistently measure


those outcomes.


Finally,


special


educators could use these data to


make decisions as to the viability of handicapped students achieving


a standard State of Florida diploma.


That is,


if special


education


students are ultimately going to have to master the skills assessed


on the State Student Assessment Test,


then special


educators should


_ __ 1












and nonhandicapped 10th grade students who elected to be included


in Florida's Statewide Student Assessment Test, Part II


(SSAT-II)


For organization,


this chapter will be divided into


sections


as follows:


Florida's Statewide Assessment Program,


Description of Design,


(c) Statements and Specific Questions Addressed,


Data Analysis,


(e) Subjects,


and (f) Concluding Statements.


Florida's Statewide Assessment Program


There is a strong movement throughout the nation and in the State


of Florida for educational improvement.


Florida has taken decisive


steps to counteract the achievement decline through establishment


of a system of educational accountability.


Educational goals have


been defined, minimum student performance standards have been


established,


student achievement is being measured,


and programs are


being evaluated.


Florida's stated goal is to insure that every child


acquires essential skills through a quality educational program that

is both efficient and economical.


The statewide assessment program was created in the early


1970s


to provide information on student achievement of basic skill


This assessment was established in order to assist in fulfilling


Florida's goal of insuring that every child acquires essential skills


through a quality educational program.


Since


1977,


this program has


been the basis for decision-makers in determining broad areas of


educational needs.


The following description of the Florida state












Assessment Resource Manual


(1979) and in the State,


District,


Regional Report of Statewide Results


(1984).


Background


The Florida Legislature expanded the role of the Department of

Education through the Educational Accountability Act of 1976.

Responsibilities of the department were enlarged to include the


development and measurement of minimum


student performance standards


for certain minimum competencies in the basic skills to practical,


every day problems


(SSAT-II).


The second test was originally called


the "functional literacy test."


Functional


literacy was defined as


"the satisfactory application of basic skills in reading

mathematics to problems and tasks of a practical nature


writing,


as encountered


in everyday


life"


(Florida Statewide Assessment,


1979,


1976


legislation mandated that high school students pass th


functional


literacy test as part of their graduation requirements.

The Student Assessment Section of the Division of Public Schools

is responsible for developing tests designed to measure the achievement

of the minimum student performance standards and applications of these


performance standards to everyday problems.


The State Assessment


Test,


Part I


(SSAT-I) measures minimum standards and skills at


the beginning of grades


and 11.


The State Student


Assessment


Test,


Part II


(SSAT-II)


includes the


llth grade minimum


student performance standards and measures the application of the








57



10th grade to provide enough time for students to master the standards

on the SSAT-I and to pass the SSAT-II prior to graduation.

Standards and Skills


Each minimum student performance standard is defined by one or


more related skills.


Each skill,


in turn,


is measured by several


test questions,


usually four or five.


The test questions are


constructed to reveal whether or not students have mastered the


minimum standards and skills.


Figure


shows the relationship of


questions to skills and skills to a standard


(State,


District, and


Regional Report,


1984,


SKILL'


TEST
QUESTIONS


STANDARD


SKILL


TEST
QUESTIONS


'SKILL


TEST
QUESTIONS


Figure


Relationship of questions to skills and skills to a standard.


Table 1 presents the number of standards,


skills,


and questions


for communication skills and mathematics on the SSAT, Parts


I and


II for March 1984,


10th grade assessment.


Communication skills and


mathematics. are considered two different standards on the SSAT-II.

The number of skills assessed and the total number of questions are


shown on the table


(State,


District,


and Regional Report,


1984,













Table


Number
Subtest


of Standards,
for the March


Skills


1984


and Questions


Statewide


Tested


Assessment


by Grade


Tests


SSAT-I


- March


1984


Standards


Skills


Questions


Grade


Communication


Skills


Mathematics


Skills


SSAT-II


- March


1984


Skills


Total


Questions


Grade


Communication


Skills


Mathematics


Skills


Mastery


of Standards


Florida


students


are expected


to show mastery


of all minimum


student


performance


standards.


However,


it would


be unreasonable


expect


students


to correctly


answer


every


test


question.


For this


reason,


judging

numbers


was necessary


attainment


questions


state


of the standard.


required


leaders


to determine


The following


to attain mastery


rules


a list


(passing


of the


criterion)


a measured


standard.












The Minimum Number of Questions
Required to be Answered Correctly


When the Number of Questions
to Measure a Standard is


To pass the State Student Assessment


Test, Part II, a student must


successfully complete both the communication skills standard and the

mathematics standard by correctly answering, on any one administration


of the test,


the following number of required items per standard


(Florida Statewide Assessment Resource Manual,


1979,


14-15) .











The Minimum Number of Questions Required
To Be Answered Correctly Shall Be


When the Number of Questions
To Measure a Standard Is


This passing criterion was changed in 1982 so that a student's raw

score was converted to an equated scale score (700). This type of


equated score was an attempt to equate any changes in the difficulty


level of the new test compared to the old test.


Students who take


different test forms from year to year are required to perform at


the same level of achievement to pass

Revised Cut-Off Score for SSAT-II


the test.


In March of 1984,


Florida 10th grade students took a version of


the State Student Assessment


Test,


Part


(SSAT-II) that measured the


1985-86 skills.

communication ski


There were two new mathematics skills and six new

lls, with two previous communication skills deleted.












issue


on February


1984,


and the final


passing


scores


were


adopted.


As of the March,


1984,


SSAT-II


administration


pass


test


students


needed


answer


correctly


47 out of 75 items


in mathematics


and 56


out of 75 items


in communication


skills.


Description


of Design


This


study was


an ex post


facto


description


and comparison


the performance


of mildly


handicapped


and nonhandicapped


students


their r


initial


effort


pass


the State


Student


Assessment


Test,


Part


SSAT-II).


This


administration


occurred


in the


spring


(March,


1984)


the students'


sophomore


(10th)


year.


An analysis


of the SSAT-II


was completed


numbers


and kinds


skills


(e.g.,


defining


words,


following


directions)


were


reported.


The number


percentages


of students


master


each


skill


in the


test


were


tabulated.


This


type


of reporting provided


a measure


difficulty by


visual


comparisons


of the


scores


of mildly


handicapped


students


with


their


nonhandicapped


peers.


Additionally,


mean


test


scores


of students


on individual


skills


were


also


tabulated.


These


data


provided


a basis


comparing


the performance


students


with


specific


handicapping


conditions


among


categories


(specific


learning


disabilities,


emotionally


handicapped,


and educable


mentally


retarded)


and between


categories


and their nonhandicapped


peers.


out comes


analyzed


in this


research


were


as follows:


The performance


of students


with


individual


handicapping












Comparisons


of performance


rank


ordering


the four


groups


under


investigation


(SLD


, EH,


EMH,


and nonhandicapped)


skill


skill


according to


achievement


mastery.


A skill


skill


analysis


was made


for three


areas


mildly


handicapping

emotionally


conditions:


specific


handicapped


learning


, educable mentally


disabilities


(SLD),


handicapped


(EMH),


and for their nonhandicapped


peers.


Measures


variability were


tabulated.


A skill


skill


comparison


was made


between


each


individual


handicapping


condition


and nonhandicapped


peers.


Comparisons


percentages


mastery


achievement


among


categories


of handicaps.


Statements


and Specific


Questions


Addressed


The emphasis


of this study was


further


clarified


asking a


number


of specific


questions


concerning


the five


areas


inve


stigation.


The performance


individual


handicapping


conditions


(students)


on the


two standards


of the SSAT-II


was compared


among


handicapping


conditions


and with


the performance


of their nonhandicapped


peers.


What


were


the differences


between


students


classified


SLD and nonhandicapped


students


indicated


mastery


of specific


standards


(communi


cation


or mathematics)


measured


the (March,


1984)


SSAT


-II?


SLD-NH)












of students achieving mastery on specific standards


(communication or mathematics) measured by the


1984) SSAT-II?


(March,


(EH-NH)


What were the differences between students classified

EMH and nonhandicapped students as indicated by the

number of students achieving mastery on specific


standards


(communication and mathematics) measured by


the (March


, 1984) SSAT-II?


(EMH-NH)


What were the differences between students classified


SLD and students classified EH


as indicated by the


number of students achieving mastery on specific


standards


(communication or mathematics) measured by the


(March,


1984) SSAT-II?


(SLD-EH)


What were the differences


between students classified SLD


and students classified EMH as indicated by the number

of students achieving mastery on specific standards

(communication or mathematics) measured by the (March,


1984)


SSAT-II?


(SLD-EMH)


What were the differences between students classified EMH

and students classified EH as indicated by the number of

students achieving mastery on specific standards


(communication or mathematics) measured by the


1984) SSAT-II?


(March,


(EMH-EH)












standards


(communication


the (March,


1984)


or mathematics)


SSAT-II?


measured


(EH-SLD)


Comparisons


were


made


rank


ordering


the performance


the four


groups


under


investigation


on individual


skills


according


to percentages


of mastery


achievement.


Which


group


students


nonhandicappedd


SLD, EH,


or EMH)


achieved


the highest


second


highest


third


highest,


and fourth


communication


highest


skill


percentage


of mastery


as measured


on individual


the (March


, 1984)


SSAT-II?


Which


group


of students


(nonhandic apped


, SLD, EH,


or EMH)


achieved


the highest,


second


highest


third


highest,


fourth


highest


percentage


of mastery


on individual


mathematics


skills,


as measured


the (March,


1984)


SSAT-II?


A skill


skill


analysis


was made


for the three


groups


mildly


handicapped


students


one group


of nonhandicapped


students.


What


was the variability


individual


communication


(range

skills


in achievement


as measured


(March,


1984)


SSAT-II,


by nonhandicapped


students?


What


was the variability


in achievement


on individual


communication


skills,


as measured


(March,


1984)


SSAT-II,


students


classified


as SLD?












What


was the variability


in achievement


on individual


communication


skills


as measured


(March


, 1984)


SSAT-II


students


classified


as EMH?


What


was the


variability


achievement


on individual


mathematics


skills


, as means


ured


the (March


, 1984)


SSAT-II,


by nonhandicapped


students?


What


was the variability


in achievement


on individual


mathematics


skill


as measured


the (March


, 1984)


SSAT-II


What


students


classified


was the variability


as SLD?


achievement


on individual


mathematics


skill


as measure


the (March


, 1984)


SSAT-II


students


classifi


as EH?


What


was the


variability


in achievement


on individual


mathematics


skills


as measured


the (March,


1984)


SSAT-II


students


classified


as EMH?


Each


(category)


in order


group


was compared,


to judge


students


skill


significant


with


a specific


skill


interaction


with


handicapping


condition


their nonhandicapped


between


test


peers


outcomes


individual


samples.


Were

skill


there


significant


between


students


differences

classified


in achievement on

SLD and nonhandicapped


students


as measured


the (Marc


, 1984)


SSAT-II?


(SLD-NH)












students as measured by the


(March,


1984)


SSAT-II?


(EH-NH)

Were there significant differences in achievement on

skills between students classified EMH and


nonhandicapped students


1984) SSAT-II?


as measured by the (March,


(EMH- NH)


Comparisons of achievement among the categories of handicapped


students were made in order to document differences in performance

among classifications of handicapped students.


Were there significant differences in achievement between


students classified SLD and students classified EH as


measured by the


(March,


1984) SSAT-II?


(SLD-EH)


Were there significant differences in achievement between


students classified SLD and students classified EMH


measured by the


(March


, 1984) SSAT-II?


(SLD-EMH)


Were there significant differences in achievement between

students classified EH and students classified EMH as


measured by the (March,


1984) SSAT-II?


(EH-EMH)


As previously stated


, the purp


oses


of the statewide assessment


program are to collect and report information about student achievement,


on selected basic and practical skills,


in-order to make decisions on


educational policies and practices.


Furthermore,


the information


from the assessment program is designed to make a contribution to the












analysis of one particular population with another.


This study was


designed,


through the questions


listed above,


to add necessary


comparison data,


thus aiding in the program's goal of improvement


and better decision making.

Data Analysis


The data for this study were obtained through the Florida Department


of Education--Division of Public Schools,


Bureau of Program Support


Services,


Student Assessment Section.


The availability of these data


was assured by Ms.


Diane Withers-Julian via a telephone conversation


in March,


1985.


The State Student Assessment Program staff records


the scores of the students on the Florida Statewide Student Assessment


Tests


(SSAT-I and SSAT-II)


individually as well as in reported percentages


of mastery on each skill and standard.


These data were analyzed by


reporting both the percent


ages


of mastery and raw


scores


achieved by


random samples


(n=300) of four groups of students on skills and standards


included on the SSAT-II.

A second comparison was made among the four groups of students


using the chi-square test of association.


This nonparametric analysis


strategy was used to determine the association between category


sample) and response


(passed,


failed,


not tested).


This preliminary


procedure indicated the need for a cut-off criterion being set for


the differences among groups.


Due to the large number of students


included in the samples


(n=300 each)


and the


large differences among












Under this set criterion,


a second chi-square procedure was


employed to establish association between the samples of EH and SLD


students and skill achievement.


Nonhandicapped students and those


classified as EMR were not included in this procedure due to the

large differences in achievement between these two groups when

compared to any other group.


Subjects


The subjects in this investigation were those nonhandicapped and


mildly handicapped


(high prevalence)


10th grade students,


in the State


of Florida,


who chose to pursue a standard diploma as the certificate


of graduation from high


school.


This choice required that these


students master the Florida Minimum Performance Standards and pass


the State Student Assessment


Test,


Part II


(SSAT-II)


These subjects did not include those mildly handicapped students


pursuing a special high school diploma,


as specified in Section


232,247, Florida Statutes,


or a certificate of attendance.


However,


these subjects did include those students who chose to take the


regular test


(SSAT-II) with those modifications specified under


Subsection


Florida Statutes 232.246


(details of these provisions are


provided in Rule 6A-1.943 and included in Appendix B).


If exceptional


students choose the regular test under one of the modifications provided


by Rule 6A-1.943,


they receive a standard diploma


but,


if students


classified in one of the five groups exempted by Section 232.247,













requirements.


Thus, all exceptional students may take the regular


test in terms of content


, but some may require modifications applicable


to their exceptionality


(such


as large print or braille).


If these


exceptional


students taking the modified test meet all


other regular


student graduation requirements,


they receive a standard diploma.


The subjects in this investigation were equal samples of 10th grade


nonhandicapped and high prevalence


learning disabled,


educablee mentally retarded,


and emotionally handicapped)


specific


handicapped students


enrolled in the public schools of the State of Florida

for examples of district eligibility criteria). These


(see Appendix A


students must


also have been pursuing a standard diploma as their certification of


graduation and were,


therefore,


included in the March,


1984, Statewide


Student Assessment Program. Tc

have participated in the March,


Sbe more specific,


1984,


these students must


Statewide Student Assessment


Test,


Part II


(SSAT-II) and have performance data in the form of test


results with the Florida Statewide Student Assessment Program.

Concluding Statements


This study investigated the performance


(percentages of mastery)


of nonhandicapped and mildly handicapped


(high incidence)


10th grade


students enrolled in the State of Florida's public school system.


These students were included in the


1984 statewide student assessment


program with a standard diploma as the stated certificate of


graduation.


The investigation was concerned with comnari snn nF milrilv








70



The data were collected from the Florida Statewide Student Assessment


Program.


Appropriate statistics were used in making decisions as to


the significance or chance occurrences of differences in scores

among the various types of students taking the examination.



















CHAPTER IV
RESULTS



The intent of this study was to compare the performance of

mildly handicapped and nonhandicapped students on their initial


effort to pass the Florida State Student Assessment Test,


Part II


(SSAT-II).


A logical analysis of the SSAT-II was completed;


numbers


and kinds of skills were listed and measures of test performance

were used to compare differences between students with individual


handicapping conditions and their nonhandicapped peers.


samples,


Random


derived from procedures included in Statistical Programs


for the Social Sciences


(SPSSX), of 300 students each were drawn


from statewide student performance data supplied by the Division of


Student Assessment,


Florida Department of Education.


All students


in these samples participated in the Florida Statewide Student

Assessment Program and had chosen to take the SSAT-II with a standard

State of Florida diploma as the certification of graduation.

Presentation of Data


The purpose of this chapter is to present the results of the


study.


Data and related outcomes are discussed in five sections













The performance of all four samples on the two standards


of the SSAT-II were compared to give indications of overall

performance.


Further comparisons were made by rank ordering the four groups


under investigation on individual skills according to percentage of

mastery achievement.


A skill by skill analysis was made for the three groups of


mildly handicapped students and one group of nonhandicapped students

to document the performance of individual samples on the skills assessed.


Each sample of students with individual handicapping conditions


was compared with their nonhandicanped peers.


A skill by skill


comparison was undertaken to investigate the effects of the handicapping


condition on the performance of students


included in the three samples


when compared to the sample of nonhandicapped peers.


Comparisons of achievement among the categories of handicapped


students were made in order to document differences in performance

among classifications of handicapped students.

Performance of Groups on Standards


The performance of students with individual


on the two standards


handicapping conditions


(communication and mathematics) of the SSAT-II


was compared among the categories of handicaps and to the performance


of the nonhandicapped sample.


These data were compared according to


the percentage of students mastering or passing a standard


(56 of












Table


Performance of Groups on Standards


SSAT-II,


Communication Standard Mastery


Percentage
Passing


Actual Number


Passing


Nonhandicapped


(n=300)


87.0


Emotionally Handicapped


(n=300)


40.0


Specific Learning Disabled


(n=300)


43.7


Educable Mentally Handicapped (n=300)

SSAT-II, Mathematics Standard Mastery


Nonhandicapped (n=300)


87.3


Emotionally Handicapped


(n=300)


40.3


Specific Learning Disabled


(n=300)


37.7


Educable Mentally Handicapped


(n=300)












achieved higher percentages of mastery than the three groups of


handicapped students.


While the LD and EH samples achieved 10 times


the percentage of mastery of the EMH sample, neither group approached


the proficiency of their nonhandicapped peers.


A more specific


analysis revealed the following:


a. Comparisons of the three samples of handicapped students with

the sample of nonhandicapped students indicated wide differences among


groups.


A majority


(87.0% and 87.3%) of nonhandicapped students


mastered both the communications standard and the mathematics standard.

Those students included in the sample classified as SLD achieved the

highest percentage of mastery among the samples of handicapped students


with 43.

b.


7% on the communication standard.

Comparisons of percentages of students mastering standards


between those samples of students classified as SLD and EH with the

sample of students classified EMH also indicated wide differences.


Only


3.3%


of the sample of EMH students achieved mastery on the


communication standard,


while only


2.0% of the same sample achieved


passing criteria on the mathematics


standard.


Samples of students classified as EH and SLD achieved mastery


within


3.7%


of one another on the communication standard


versus


(43.7%) and only approximately three


(2.6) percentage points on the


mathematics standard


(37.7%


versus 40.3%).


In summary,


the data indicated all four samples achieved a slightly













students


passing


both


standards


far exceed


percentage


passing


of the


groups


clustered


of handicapped


together


slightly


students


below


sampled.


passing


The SLD and EH


and the


samples


percentage


the EMH students'


sample


was substantially


lower


than


all other


groups.


Rank


Ordering


comparison


groups


were


rank


ordered


for each


communication


and mathematics


skill


assessed


the SSAT-II.


The results


presented


in Tables


and 4.


Specific


comparisons


and analysis


these


data


indicated


the following:


For individual


communication


skills


(results


presented


in Table


The nonhandi


capped


students


samples


were


consistently


of 15 skills)


ranked


above


the other


three


groups


on communication


skills.


The EMH sample


was equally


consistent


of 15 skills)


in ranking


below


all other


samples.


Clustered


together


in the center of


the four


groups


were


the EH and the SLD samples.


These


last


samples


alternated


between


the second


and third


ranking


over


all skills


measured.


For individual


mathematics


skills


(results


are presented


in Table


nonhandicappe


student


sample


ranked


consistently


are


are












Table


Rank


Order


300)


of Achievement


on Measured


Commun


of Mastery for
ication Skills


Four


Sample


(Reading


Groups


and Writing)


High (1) to Low (4)
Skill Rank Order


Reading


Main


Idea


(stated)


Cause/Effect


Written


Directions


Main


Idea


(implied)


Paragraph


Conclusion


Facts/Opinions


Pictures,


Maps


Signs


Diagrams/Tables

Index/Dictionary


Identify


Inform


Sources


Writing


Request

Letter

Complete


Inform/Messages



Forms


Money Order/Check













Table


Rank


Order


300)


of Achievement


on Measured Mathem


of Mastery f
atics Skills


or Four


Sample Groups


High (1) to Low (4)
Skill Rank Order


Mathematics


Averages


10 Numbers


or 2


Whole


Number


Oper.


Add/Sub.


Proper


Fractions


Decimals/Percents


Equivalent


Dollars


vs Coins


Comparison


Simple


Purchases


Shopping


Interest


and Sales


Rate of Discount

Time

Perimeter


Length,


Width,


Height


Capacity,


Measurement


Mass/Weight Measurement

Graphs/Tables













The SLD and EH


groups


exchanged


second


and third


positions,


with


the EH


group


achieving


a greater


number


of third


rankings.


Across


all skills


assessed


on the SSAT-II


the nonhandicapped


sample


consistently


achieved


extreme


upper


rankings,


while


EMH sample was

differences oc


equally


curred


consistent


between


at the lower


extreme.


the SLD and EH samples


Only minor


clustering


at the


central


Skill


rankin


Skill


second


Anal


and third.


ysis


A skill


skill


comparison


was made for the three


samples


handicapped

Addressed i


students


n this


SLD, EMH)


analysis


and for their


was an examination


of s


nonhandicapped

kills included


peers.

in the


communi cation


and mathematics


standards.


The frequency


of students


passing


and failing


individual


skills,


not responding


to items,


and the


mean


number


items


correct


in that


skill


assessment


are presented


in Tables


and 12.


Specific


analysis


of these


data


indicated


the following:


For communication


skills


, comparisons


revealed


groups


scored highest


in those


skills


involving


writing,


able


with


to complete


the highest


money


number


orders


of students


and checks


eing


(273


nonhandicapped,


214 EH


208 SLD


, 102 EMH).


These


results


are presented


Tables


and 8.


I I













Table


Skills Mastered on the SSAT, Part II,


(Reading and Writing)


Communication Skills


by the Nonhandicapped Sample (n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Reading


Main Idea (stated)


4.23


What,


When


4.63


4.44


Cause/Effect

Written Directions

Main Idea (implied)

Paragraph Conclusion

Facts/Opinion


Pictures, Maps,


Signs


4.43


4.37


4.24


4.22


4.28


4.02


Diagrams/Tables

Indexes/Dictionary

Identify Inform Sources

Writing


4.34


4.29


4.52


Request Inform/Messages

Letter

Complete Forms


Money Order/Check


4.61












Table 6


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part II,


Communication Skills


(Reading and Writing)


by the Emotionally Handicapped Sample


(n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Reading


Main Idea


(stated)


2.54


Who,


What,


When


3.55


Cause/Effect

Written Directions


Main Idea


2.98


(implied)


Paragraph Conclusion

Facts/Opinion


Pictures, Maps,


2.84


2.66


Signs


3.61


Diagrams/Tables

Indexes/Dictionary

Identify Inform Sources


3.03


3.13


3.14


Writing


Request Inform/Messages

Letter

Complete Forms

Money Order/Check


3.60


2.85


3.46


3.98












Table


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part II,


Communication Skills


(Reading and Writing)
(n=300)


by the Specific Learning Disabled Sample


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Readin


Main Idea


(stated)


2.73


What,


When


3.44


3.09


Cause/Effect

Written Directions


Main Idea


(implied)


2.99


2.83


2.76


Paragraph Conclusion

Facts/Opinion

Pictures, Maps, Signs

Diagrams/Tables

Indexes/Dictionary

Identify Inform Sources


2.73


3.17


2.87


3.03


3.18


Writing


Request Inform/Messages


3.24


Letter


Complete Forms

Money Order/Check


3.68












Table


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part II,


Communication Skills


(Reading and Writing) by the Educable Mentally Handicapped Sample
(n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Reading


Main Idea


(stated)


1.44


Who,


What,


When


2.12


1.89


Cause/Effect

Written Directions


Main Idea


(implied)


1.55


1.53


1.76


Paragraph Conclusion

Facts/Opinion


Pictures


, Maps,


Signs


1.40


2.00


1.56


Diagrams/Tables

Indexes/Dictionary

Identify Inform Sources


1.92


1.92


Writing


Request Inform/Messages


2.13


Letter


1.74


Complete Forms

Money Order/Check













passing;


69 EMH students achieved the writing skill


that included taking accurate messages,

students achieved the writing skill tha


the completion of forms and


80 EMH


it required


as previously stated,


102 EMH students achieved a passing criterion on the

completion of money orders and checks.


The performance on communication skills


(see


Tables


6 and 7) for the EH and SLD samples was very similar.

Ranges for the SLD students were from 108 to 208

passing and ranges for the EH students were from 81

to 214 passing indicating little difference in

overall performance.

The nonhandicapped sample consistently had larger numbers


passing the communication skills


(range from


to 275


students passing) than did the samples of students with


handicaps.

Across all


These results are presented in


groups,


Table


little consistency was indicated when


considering the


lowest frequency of students achieving


passing criterion on a skill.

students achieved the lowest


The sample of nonhandicapped


frequency of achievement on


letter writing


(226 passed,


65 failed)


Students


classified as EH achieved the


lowest frequency of passing


on identifying the stated main idea of a paragraph


V a












when compared to the frequency of mastery on other


communication skills. The s

as EMH achieved mastery only


ample of students classified

15 times when attempting to


ascertain information from diagrams or tables.

For mathematics skills, comparisons revealed

a. All groups scored the highest frequency of achievement

on those skills involving the determination of equivalent


amounts of change and currency


(274 nonhandicapped,


224 EH,


211 SLD


, 70 EMH).


These results are presented in


Tables


and 12.


The performance on mathematics skills for the SLD and


EH samples were very similar (see


Tables


10 and 11).


The range of frequency passing for SLD students was

between 54 and 211 and the range of frequency passing

for the EH students was between 47 and 224.

The frequencies of students in the EMH sample rarely

approached the rates noted by any of the other groups


(see


Table 12).


Except for the extremely high frequency


noted on the skill


dealing with money,


the frequency


of EMH students achieving mastery on any skill never


reached above














Table 9


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part


II, Mathematics Skills


by the Nonhandi capped Sample (n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Averages


1 or


10 Numbers


Whole Number Oper.


Add/Sub


Proper Fractions


4.23


Decimals/Percents

Equivalent Dollars-Coins

Comparison Shopping

Simple Interest


4.32


Purchases and Sales


Rate of Discount


3.95


Time


4.08


Perimeter


3.35


Length,


Width, Height


3.21


3.45


Capacity, Measurement

Mass/Weight Measurement

Graphs/Tabl es


3.59


4.43













Table 10


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part II, Mathematics Skills


by the Emotionally Handicapped Sample


(n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Averages 10 Numbers


1 or


Add/Sub


3.08


Whole Number Oper.

. Proper Fractions


3.34


Decimals/Percents

Equivalent Dollars-Coins

Comparison Shopping

Simple Interest

Purchases and Sales Tax

Rate of Discount

Time


Perimeter


4.12


3.19


2.25


Length,


Width,


Height


Capacity, Measurement


2.24


Mass/Weight Measurement

Graphs/Tables


3.38












Table


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part II, Mathematics Skills


by the Specific Learning Disabled Sample


(n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Averages 10 Numbers


1 or


Add/Sub


Whole Number Oper.

Proper Fractions


Decimals/Percents


3.80


Equivalent Dollars-Coins

Comparison Shopping

Simple Interest

Purchases and Sales Tax

Rate of Discount


Time


2.02


2.35


3.01


Perimeter


2.03


Length,


Width,


Height


2.08


Capacity, Measurement

Mass/Weight Measurement


Graphs/Tables


3.17













Table 12


Skills Mastered on the SSAT,


Part


Mathematics Skills


by the Educable Mentally Handicapped Sample


(n=300)


Frequency Not Mean Number of
Skill Passed Failed Tested Items Correct


Averages


10 Numbers


1.16


1 or


Add/Sub


1.35


Whole Number Oper.

Proper Fractions


1.06


1.70


Decimals/Percents

Equivalent Dollars-Coins

Comparison Shopping


Simple Interest


1.59


1.45


Purchases


and Sales


1.35


Rate of Discount


1.52


1.76


Time


Perimeter


Length,


Width, Height


1.35


Capacity, Measurement

Mass/Weight Measurement

Graphs/Tables


1.37


1.50













summary,


when


comparisons


are made


between


nonhandicapped


handicapped


students


, handicapped


students


appear


to have


difficulty


achieving


mastery


individual


skills


as measured


on the SSAT-II.


The nonhandicapped


sample


consistently


achieved


higher


than


all the


handicapped


students


sampled


on each


skill


measured.


While


the SLD and EH sample


consistently


scored


higher


than


group


no sample


of handicapped


students


scored


equal


or higher


than


nonhandi


capped


group.


The sample


students


classified


as SLD and


EH clustered


within


a narrow


band


frequencies


ssed


on each


skill


measured


for both


communication


and mathematics


The sample


students


classified


as EMH consistently


scored


lowest


the four


groups


and appeared


to have


most


difficulty with


abstract


mathematics


skills


and had


most


success


with


writing


skill


Three S


ampl


Handicapped


Students


Versus


One Sample


of Nonhandicapped


Students


Each


individual


sample


of handicapped


students


was compared


with


their nonhandicapped


peers.


A chi-square


analysis


was employed


judge


interaction


between


categories


of students


and frequenci


individual


passing


skills


, failing


skills


or not responding


to items.


Highest


and lowest


frequencies


students


passing


a skill


are presented


as Tables


13 and 14.


Also


included


in the table


range


-square


statistic


to indicate


a summary


analysis


across


skills.


In general


a lar


consistent


interaction


among


cate


gories













For communication


(The


chi-square


results


are presented


Table


other


percentages


are generated


from


Tables


5-8.)


Nonhandicapped


students


performance


scores


varied


from 91.7%


mastery


on the reading


skill


that


identifies


who, what,


when,


where,


to 75.3% when


required


complete


a letter.


The other


samples


SLD, EMH)


scored


highest


in the


completion


money


orders


and checks


69.3%


respectively).


While


nonhandicapped


students


appeared


to have


little


trouble


in identifying


the main


idea


a paragraph


the EH students


appeared


to have


most


trouble


with


this


skill


(27%)


The sample


of EMH students


generally


did only


about


tenth


as well


on the skills


measured


when


compared


with


the nonhandicapped


sample;


even


lower


scores


were


achieved


identifying


fact


from opinion


and acquiring


information


from


diagrams


and tables


summary,


the nonhandicapped


sample


did significantly


better


than


the other


samples


under


investigation.


Samples

approach


EH and SLD students'

the nonhandicapped s


highest


;ample' s


scores

lowest


only

scores.


This


trend


is also


noted


when


comparing


the samples











Table 13

Number of Students Passing Communication Skills on the SSAT-II


Classification Highest Number Lowest Number


Nonhandicapped (n=300) 275 (91. 7%) 226 (75.3%)

EH (n=300) 214 (71.3%) 81 (27.0%)

SLD (n=300) 208 (69.3%) 108 (36.0%)

EMH (n=300) 102 (34.0%) 15 ( 5.0%)






Table 14

Number of Students Passing Mathematics Skills on the SSAT-II



Classification Highest Number Lowest Number


Nonhandicapped (n=300) 274 (91. 3%) 151 (50.3%)

EH (n=300) 224 (74.7%) 47 (15.7%)

SLD (n=300) 211 (70.3%) 54 (18.0%)

EMH (n=300) 70 (23.3%) 7 ( 2.3%)












For mathematics


(The chi square results are presented in


Table 14, other percentages are generated from Tables 9-12.)


Ranges of performance were wider for all samples on the


mathematics skills when compared to the communication


skills


nonhandicappedd)


from 91.3% to 50.3%,


EH from


74.7% to


15.7%,


SLD from 70.3% to


EMH from


23.3%


to 2.3%.

High scores were within 4.4% for EH and SLD students.

The EMH sample scores were 46.7% below the other samples.


In general,


all samples did not Derform as well on the


mathematics skills as they did on communication skills.

However, individual group performances had a much larger


overlap in skills achievement.


Unlike the communication


skills,


comparisons of mathematics skills'


highs were not as similar.


For example,


lows and


the nonhandicapped


sample scored a low percentage of mastery of 50.3%


(measuring length,


width,


and height),


while the EH and


SLD samples'


highest percentage of mastery was


approximately


70.3% and 74.7%,


respectively (dealing with


money).

Performance Among Various Categories of Handicaps


A comparison of achievement among samples of students classified

as handicapped was made in order to document differences on skills.