House Concurrent Resolution No. 23



      Whereas, the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act requires states to assess all students in their state’s assessment program; and


            Whereas, the Act provides for a limited number of students with disabilities to be assessed with an alternate assessment, but only 1% of a school district’s tested population may be counted as proficient or above using the alternate assessment; and


            Whereas, this limitation results in some special needs students being included in the regular state assessment system when, in fact, their cognitive disabilities are such that they should not be assessed with their age or grade-level peers; and


            Whereas, a more appropriate assessment for them might be a test that was developed for use in some grade-level below the grade in which they are classified, but the United States Department of Education regulations governing the implementation of the NCLB Act prohibit this "out of grade-level" testing; and


            Whereas, the United States Department of Education has recently allowed for the inclusion of an additional 2% of students with disabilities to be assessed with a modified grade-level assessment, but this additional flexibility still prohibits “out of grade-level” testing; and


            Whereas, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA), which predates the NCLB Act, contains requirements for assessment that must be included in the student’s individualized educational program (IEP), which may not meet the requirements of the NCLB Act for assessment and thus may place the IEP team at odds with the overall NCLB assessment process and may create confusion for parents; and


            Whereas, certain accommodations written into an IEP, such as reading out loud or paraphrasing, are currently not acceptable for certain assessments under NCLB procedures, thus making the student’s performance on the assessment not count for NCLB purposes and denying the student an accommodation that the IEP team has documented as necessary to the child’s best chances for a proficient performance; and


            Whereas, Secretary Margaret Spellings has shown an admirable flexibility in permitting experimentation with alternative approaches to the NCLB Act while keeping the focus on accountability:


            Now, therefore, be it resolved by the members of the House of Representatives of the Ninety-third General Assembly, Second Regular Session, the Senate concurring therein, that the interests of the special needs students of the state would best be served by reviewing the assessment provisions of IDEA and the NCLB Act together to eliminate contradictory objectives, so that accommodations that are appropriate to a student with an IEP do not invalidate the student’s assessment results for the purposes of No Child Left Behind assessments; and


            Be it further resolved that the Chief Clerk of the Missouri House of Representatives be instructed to prepare properly inscribed copies of this resolution for Margaret Spellings, Secretary of the United States Department of Education and each member of the Missouri Congressional delegation.