Basic Assessment Terminology
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
A set of scientific principles and guidelines which uses direct observation, measurement, collection of data, and analysis of the relationship between the environment and behavior. In programming for students with autism, ABA employs intensive, highly structured teaching approaches where skills are broken down into their simplest most manageable form.
Accommodations
Techniques and materials that allow individuals with disabilities to complete school or work with greater ease and effectiveness. Examples may include spell checkers, tape recorders, and expanded time for completing assignments.
Alternative Assessment
An alternative to conventional means of assessing achievement; usually using something other than a paper and pencil test, such as oral testing or work sample review.
Alternate Proficiency Assessment (APA)
A portfolio assessment designed to measure progress toward achieving New Jersey’s state educational standards for those students with severe disabilities who are unable to participate in the state’s standardized testing regimen. The APA must meet specific (NJ DOE) standards and be approved by NJ DOE.
Assistive Technology (AT)
Any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.
Auditory Discrimination
The ability to recognize, compare, and differentiate the discrete sounds in words and background noise.
Auditory Memory
The ability to remember something heard some time in the past (long-term auditory memory); or to recall something heard very recently (short-term auditory memory).
AYP
Adequate Yearly Progress – Under the No Child Left Behind laws, adequate yearly progress (AYP) is required for students in public education. The states must ensure that all local schools demonstrate AYP through a statewide accountability system. The school can demonstrate AYP by 95% participation on statewide assessments and progress in relation to a state-imposed objective. Separate measurable objectives for achievement must be shown for students with disabilities under IDEA.
Behavior Modification
A technique intended to alter behavior through positive reinforcement of appropriate behavior, with the objective to extinguish undesirable behavior
Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)
): A collaborative plan between the district, family, student and teacher, in either the general education or special education environment that describes positive behavioral interventions and other strategies to prevent and control unacceptable behaviors. May be part of I&RS committee recommendations.
Child Study Team (CST)
Consists of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher/consultant, school social worker, and when needed, a speech-language specialist, responsible for conducting evaluations to determine eligibility for special education and related services for students with disabilities; case management; facilitating compliance of NJ Special Education Administrative Code..
Cognitive Ability (IQ)
The cognitive, intellectual or innate ability measured by standardized tests to identify skills related to learning or potential. Cognitive ability is often broken down into components such as verbal skills, non-verbal skills, processing speed and/or working memory
Developmental Delay
Failure to meet expected developmental milestones in one or more of the following areas: physical, social, play skills, emotional, intellectual, speech and language and/or adaptive development. Developmental delay is usually a diagnosis made by a doctor based on strict guidelines.
Educational Evaluation
An assessment of a student based on multiple tests, analysis of class work, classroom observation, and teacher input intended to determine levels of achievement in certain academic areas, as well as the student’s learning style and academic abilities.
Expressive Language
Communication through speech, writing, and/or gestures.
Executive Functioning
Executive Functioning comprises those skills that allow an individual to interact with the environment effectively and efficiently. They include assessing the overall situation, setting goals, devising a plan to reach those goals, staying on track, and monitoring one’s own performance. They also include regulating one’s actions and responses.
Fine Motor Skills
The use of small muscles to complete precise tasks such as writing, drawing, buttoning, opening jars, and assembling puzzles.
Gross Motor Skills
The use of large muscles for activities involving strength and balance, such as walking, running and climbing.
Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA)
A process to determine which behaviors are limiting educational progress; to design interventions that decrease target behaviors; and to promote appropriate behavior(s) through positive behavioral supports
IEP Team
The group of individuals as specified by NJ Special Education Administrative Code who are responsible for the development, review and revision of the student’s individualized education program.
Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The written educational program designed for each classified student, incorporating information, as specified by NJ DOE Special Education Administrative Code, such as: educational goals (long-term and short-term), the duration of the program, and provisions for evaluating the program’s effectiveness and the student’s performance.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with students who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of students with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature and severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
Pre-Referral Process
An informal procedure in which staff members and parents develop intervention strategies to assist a student who is having difficulty in learning, behavior or socialization to function in the general education classroom. Generally precedes the formal I&RS process.
Psychiatric Evaluation
An evaluation by a licensed psychiatric medical doctor designed to diagnose any number of emotional, behavioral, or developmental disorders. An evaluation of a child or adolescent is made based on behaviors present and in relation to physical, genetic, environmental, social, and cognitive (thinking), emotional, and educational components that may be affected as a result of the behaviors presented.
Psychological Evaluation
The evaluation of a student’s intellectual, behavioral, social, and emotional characteristics by a certified school psychologist
Related Services
Services that are provided to help classified students benefit from special education. The services are specified in the student’s IEP and are provided in conjunction with the special education program. Some examples of related services include: counseling services, occupational therapy, physical therapy, parent training, social work, speech/language services, and transportation.
Section 504
A federal law designed to protect the rights of individuals with medical disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States. . . shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance …”
Standardized Tests Norm Referenced Test
Are designed to give a measure of an individual student’s performance that can be compared with results from a large population of students of similar ages or grades. Since the same test is given to large numbers of students throughout the country, a common yardstick or “standard” of measure can be derived to give evaluators a picture of the skills and abilities of students.
Self Contained Programs (SC)
Self Contained Programs (SC): Taught by the special education teacher, this is considered a special classroom program that serves students with similar educational needs. Instruction is usually provided with an alternative curriculum based upon the nature or severity of the student’s disability and in accordance with the student’s IEP goals and objectives.
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