Assessment Practices in Special Education: Adequacy and Appropriateness

James E. Ysseldyke, Martha L. Thurlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Current assessment practices in special education must be examined in terms of their appropriateness as well as their technical adequacy. Assessment is an integral part of special education in decisions related to referral, eligibility/classification, intervention, and evaluation. This article examines the adequacy and appropriateness of two measurement methodologies being used in special education to make decisions about mildly handicapped students: norm-referenced and continuous-monitoring. An alternative approach that reflects a blending of the norm-referenced and continuous-monitoring approaches, referred to as a modified norm-reference approach, is proposed as a way to maximize technical adequacy and appropriateness of assessment in special education. Instructional diagnosis and prereferral interventions are key aspects of the modified norm-referenced approach. Increasing the relevance of assessment data to instructional decisions is presented as a primary requisite for maximizing the appropriateness of special education assessment practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-136
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Psychologist
StatePublished - Jun 1 1984

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