NO SECRETS TO CONCEAL: DYNAMIC ASSESSMENT AND A STATE MANDATED, STANDARDIZED 3RD GRADE READING TEST FOR CHILDREN WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES

Open Access
Author:
Duvall, Emily
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
November 06, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Patrick Willard Shannon, Committee Chair
  • James Lantolf, Committee Member
  • Jacqueline Edmondson, Committee Member
  • David Alexander Gamson, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • reading
  • Vygotsky
  • elementary
  • tests and measurements
  • dynamic assessment
  • special education
  • high stakes testing
Abstract:
The purpose of this research is to present the results of a pilot study in which a state mandated, standardized test for third grade reading/language arts was redesigned as a dynamic assessment in order to reveal the progress that children with disabilities may be making towards the goals of the general education curriculum. The study argues that ascertaining progress using static testing practices keeps the progress of children with learning disabilities hidden from view; dynamic assessment is offered as an alternative. An alternative research paradigm, activity theory, is used to develop the methodological framework of the four case studies, each including single subject experiment, structured interview (referred to as a reflection discussion), and a design-based (recursive) tutoring component. Data is presented in case study format augmented with video clips. The results suggest that a dynamic standards of learning assessment (DSLA) can reveal hidden progress and offer multiple stakeholders (children, parents, teachers, and administrations) data that is both relevant to real world needs and potentially useful for satisfying the assessment and accountability demands of NCLB (2001) as well as IDEA (2004). The research process and results also trouble the notion of progress, the validity of inferences made from state mandated, standardized tests of reading, and the functionality of such reading tests, the latter supporting the view that reading tests are really a genre of reading itself as well as begging questions of social justice with regard to high stakes testing practices in our schools.