The primary focus and goal of Assessing Learners with Special Needs: An Applied Approach, Fifth Edition, by Terry Overton is to provide students with a practical, applied approach for learning about the complex procedures of the assessment process. To achieve this goal, the author integrates cases throughout the text to facilitate reader comprehension of difficult concepts. In addition, the author presents these concepts in a step-by-step manner and then creates opportunities for students to check their understanding of these concepts through practice exercises.
Terry Overton has experience as a special education classroom teacher, educational diagnostician, and consults with school districts regularly as a Nationally Certified School Psychologist. She conducts research in the area of autism spectrum disorders and assessment and she continues to provide professional development to school districts to assist with the implementation of RTI models.
The process of assessing students with special needs continues to change. The fourth edition of Assessing learners with Special Needs: An Applied Approach was written to reflect the changes in the assessment process.
Like earlier editions, the primary focus of this text is to provide students with a practical applied approach for learning about the complex procedures of the assessment process. This latest revision incorporates the federal regulations for the IDEA 1997 Amendments and includes the following changes:
Application exercises that reflect increasing consideration of learners from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds
Issues and practices of high-stakes assessment of learners with special needs
Issues and practices of transition planning for learners with special needs Issues and practices of functional behavioral assessment of learners with special needs
Case examples that provide students with experiences in the interpretation of data from reevaluations and comprehensive evaluations of learners from culturally and linguistically diverse environments
Case examples that provide students with exercises involving considerations for transition planning, functional behavioral assessment, and educational planning for various ages
Opportunities for students to participate in team meetings to determine the outcomes for the case examples
Opportunities for students to complete short-term behaviorally stated objectives or benchmarks and long-term goals for case examples
This text presents complex concepts in a step-by-step manner and provides students with practiceexercises for each step. Students also have portions of assessment instruments, protocols, and scoring tables provided as part of their practice exercises. Students will participate in the educational decision-making process using data from norm-referenced instruments, informal assessment data, and functional behavioral assessment data. Students will have the opportunity to plan for appropriate statewide assessment accommodations in application exercises.
The text is divided into four parts. Part 1, "Introduction to Assessment," introduces students to the assessment process and the federal laws and regulations governing that process. Professional standards and ethical considerations are included in Part 1.
Part 2, "Technical Prerequisites of Understanding Assessment," addresses the topics of descriptive statistics, reliability, validity, and the basic mechanics of administering tests. This part also presents both individualized assessment and group assessment, including high-stakes testing.
Part 3, "Assessing Students," includes numerous norm-referenced instruments, informal instruments, techniques for informal assessment, and behavioral assessment. It also covers the issues and practices of assessing young children and youth who are transitioning to adulthood.
Part 4, "Interpreting Assessment for Educational Intervention," discusses interpreting test results for interventions and eligibility decisions, writing test results, and using test results to write short-term objectives and long-term goals. Students using this text will draw on the information in these chapters to conduct team meetings in order to reach educational decisions.
At the end of most chapters the reader will find exercises to review and reinforce the chapter content. Because Chapter 13, "Case Studies," is completely an application chapter, it does not include the end-of-chapter exercise.