Virginia acts to limit use of exam for special-ed students after criticism

Michael Alison Chandler:

Virginia officials are moving to sharply limit an alternative testing program that many schools in the Washington suburbs use to measure the abilities of special education students who traditionally have fared poorly on the state’s Standards of Learning exams.
The effort by state lawmakers and education officials targets “portfolio” tests, which have helped increase passing rates at many schools by allowing students to avoid the multiple choice tests in favor of more flexible, individually tailored assessments. Critics have said that the alternative tests undermine Virginia’s widely praised accountability system and overstate the progress districts are making in closing achievement gaps between racial groups.