Special Education 669

EDSP 669. Diagnostic and Assessment Procedures for Individuals with Disabilities

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course teaches the rationale, content, technical adequacy, administration and scoring of diagnostic educational instruments used with students with disabilities. The emphasis is on identifying areas of educational need in students with disabilities. Diagnostic and informal information is used to formulate a written and oral report and recommendations for teachers and/or parents. This includes assessment and management of instruction and behavior that includes an understanding and application of the foundation of assessment and evaluation related to best special education practice; of service delivery, and curriculum and instruction of students with disabilities.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

To provide special educators, reading specialists, general educators, and school psychologists with skills necessary for administering educational tests and assessments, interpreting test data and for making appropriate educational recommendations for students with disabilities

  • Statistical terminology and concepts
  • Ethical considerations in testing students
  • Review of the IDEA regulations
  • Review of screening procedures and informal assessment
  • Overview of intellectual and achievement estimates including reading and language
  • The interpretation and use of test results (formal and informal assessment) for instructional recommendations and IEP development
  • Understanding the cultural differences in the administration and interpretation of tests, along with understanding how certain instruments may contain a cultural bias.


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course is conducted with an emphasis on practice administration with school-aged students and scoring of standardized instruments and a criterion referenced test, written diagnostic reports, simulated parent conferences and cooperative learning problem solving activities. It also includes videos, lectures, journal articles and text reading and interpretation and discussion.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Goals, objectives, and assignments in this class address NCATE Standard 1c Professional and Pedagogical Knowledge and Skills.

The codes included below refer to the CEC Knowledge and Skill Standards and the Virginia  Department of Education teacher licensure competencies. Code for CEC Standards: CC = Common Core; GC = General Curriculum. Code for VADOE Standards: VGC = Virginia’s General Curriculum; VRS = Virginia’s Reading Specialist, and VPS = Virginia’s Professional Studies.  Also included are the Standards for Reading Professionals as articulated by the International Reading Association (IRA).

In order to identify and interpret educational recommendations for students with unique learning and/or behavioral needs, each participant should be able to:


1. Identify and describe tasks involved in an educational evaluation, including screening, pre-referral, referral, and classification, along with the basic terminology used in assessment and the specialized terminology used in the assessment of individuals with disabilities and individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing (CC8K1,CC8K3, DH8K1,GC8K1, & VGCA2a3)

2. Identify the definitions and issues related to the identification of individuals with disabilities, including the procedures for early identification of young children who may be at risk for disabilities including language deficiencies and delays. (GC1K1,GC8K4 & VGCA2a3; VRS2.d,6.d)

3. Discuss issues, laws, policies, assurances and due process rights related to assessment, eligibility, and placement within a continuum of services, ethical considerations, and influences of diversity related to assessment, eligibility, and placement of individuals with disabilities (CC1K6, GC8K2, & VGCA2a3)

4. Identify the legal provisions and ethical principles regarding assessment of individuals. (CC8K2 & VGCA2a3)

5. Demonstrate understanding of the purpose, use, limitations and statistical terminology and influence of diversity on various diagnostic instruments, in the assessment process for identifying students with disabilities (CC8K4 & VGCA2a3)

6. Identify similarities and differences among the cognitive, physical, cultural, social, and emotional needs of individuals with and without exceptional learning needs.

7. Administer nonbiased formal and informal assessments and use exceptionality-specific assessment instruments with individuals with disabilities. (CC8S2, GC8S2 & VGCA2a3)

8. Use technology to administer and conduct assessments and develop or modify individualized assessment strategies, including the selection, adaptation and modifying of assessments to accommodate the unique abilities and needs of individuals with disabilities (CC8S3, CC8S4, CC8S9, GC8S3, & VGCA2a3)

9. Assess reliable methods of response of individuals who lack typical communication and performance abilities (GC8S4)

10. Demonstrate appropriate application and interpretation of scores from informal and formal assessments, using disability specific assessment instruments, including grade score verses standard score, percentile ranks, age/grade equivalents, and stanines (CC8S5, DH8S2, & VGCA2a3)

11. Administer assessment tools using the natural/native/preferred language of the individual who is deaf or hard of hearing (DH8S1)

12.  Demonstrate the ability to work professionally with school personnel, parents, and students with disabilities, including assessing student achievement, planning instruction, and implementing programs to address the strengths and needs of individual learners, and understand family systems and the role of families in the educational process, and collaborate with families and others in assessment of individuals with disabilities (CC1K7, CC10S2, & VGCA2a3)

13. Understand the types and importance of information concerning individuals with disabilities available from families and public agencies and how to gather relevant background information (GC8K3 & CC8S1)

14. Demonstrate the ability to enter a testing situation, establish rapport with the student being evaluated and determine if the testing situation had any effect on the student’s performance. (VGCA2a3)

15. Implement procedures for assessing and reporting both appropriate and problematic social behaviors of individuals with disabilities (GC8S1 & VGCA2a3)

16. Monitor intragroup behavior changes across subjects and activities (GC8S5)

17. Use assessment information in making eligibility, program, and placement decisions for individuals with disabilities, including those from culturally and/or linguistically diverse backgrounds (CC8S6 & VGCA2a3)

18. Use a wide range of assessment tools and practices that range from individual and group standardized tests to individual and group informal classroom assessment strategies, including technology-based assessment tools. (IRA 3.1; VRS1.b,6.e)

19.  Use assessment information to plan, evaluate, and revise effective instruction that meets the needs of all students, including those at different developmental stages and those from differing cultural and linguistic backgrounds. (IRA 3.3)

20. Demonstrate expertise to interpret grade equivalents, percentile ranks, normal curve equivalents, and standards scores. (VRS6.f)

21. Demonstrate the ability to integrate informal and formal evaluations including the essential areas of reading, in a written report with educationally relevant recommendations addressing the strengths and needs of students, and/or suggest appropriate modifications in learning environments. (VGCA2a3; VRS1.a)

22. Report assessment results to all stakeholders using effective communication skills (CC8S7, VGCA2a3, & IRA 3.4)

23. Evaluate instruction and monitor progress of individuals with exceptional learning needs and create and maintain records (CC8S8, CC8S10 & VGCA2a3)


Assessment Measures

  • In class writing activities and group problem solving
  • Individual performance assessment with student
  • Written exams
  • Simulated parent conference
  • Written diagnostic reports based on 4-5 diagnostic assessments with a school-aged student which is an NCATE candidate performance task addressing Pedagogical and & Professional Knowledge and Skills Development - Effective application in clinical experience.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

9/2001    Course number changed

9/2008        Reviewed Dr. Debora Bays/Dr. Kenna M. Colley