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Tools to Support Exceptional Learners
Albert H. Brigance had a place deep in his heart for his special education students. When he began his career as a school psychologist in the 1970s, he noticed that assessment tools tended to undervalue his students’ unique development trajectories and instead emphasized what they didn’t know and couldn’t do. Al wanted to change the conversation.
He envisioned an expansion of existing assessments for developmental and academic skills to suit special ed—in-depth skill sequences that would reveal what students did know and could do. Al’s idea became a best-selling reality, and BRIGANCE Special Education was born.
Our special education products consist of assessment inventories and instructional materials that focus on a broad array of skills and behaviours in key developmental, academic, and transitional domains. They assist professionals with writing accurate, comprehensive, and meaningful IEPs and developing the skills that students need to thrive.
Get to Know BRIGANCE Special Education
Criterion-referenced assessment measures a student’s performance on a specified set of skills over time. Educators use criterion-referenced assessment when progress is to be evaluated solely by comparing a student’s own present and past performance. It is commonly used when normative, or standardized, scores are not necessary.
Inventory of Early Development III and IED III Record Book
The Inventory of Early Development III (IED III), intended for use with students functioning at a developmental age from birth through age 7, consists of more than 100 assessments that cover a broad array of skills and behaviors to offer a comprehensive picture of a student’s skill mastery. With assessments in the key domains of Physical Development, Language Development, Literacy, Mathematics and Science, Daily Living, and Social-Emotional Development, the IED III is aligned to state and national standards, including the College and Career Readiness Standards, as well as IDEA requirements for a comprehensive and accurate assessment.
Transition Skills Inventory 2 and Transition Skills Activities 2 — NEW EDITIONS!
Designed to help special educators meet the IDEA requirement for transition services, the Transition Skills Inventory 2 (TSI 2) and Transition Skills Activities 2 (TSA 2) provide a comprehensive set of tools to support each student in identifying and developing the skills they need to thrive as adults in their personal lives, workplaces, and communities.
Norm-referenced, or standardized, assessment measures a student’s performance on a specific set of skills relative to that of same-age or same-grade students. Such assessments have been standardized and validated on a normative sample. Educators use standardized assessment when they need to derive normative scores, such as composite scores, percentile ranks, and age equivalents.
IED III Standardized and IED III Standardized Record Book
The Inventory of Early Development III (IED III) Standardized, intended for use with children chronological ages birth through age 7, consists of 55 norm-referenced assessments that allow educators to compare a child’s performance to that of same-age children in a nationally representative sample to provide normative scores such as standard scores, percentile ranks, and age equivalents for children of these ages. Assessments cover a broad array of skills and behaviors in these key early learning and development domains:
- Physical Development (gross motor and fine motor)
- Language Development (receptive and expressive)
- Academic Skills/Cognitive Development (literacy and mathematics)
- Adaptive Behavior (daily living)
- Social and Emotional Development (interpersonal and self-regulatory)
Educators commonly use these normative scores, when indicated, to endorse a child’s eligibility for services.
Assessment for Developing Annual IEP Goals
Inventory of Early Development III (IED III), criterion-referenced: The IED III is a comprehensive collection of assessments covering milestone skills typically developed between birth and chronological age 8. The IED III is often used for students who are chronologically older but functioning from birth through the developmental age of 7.
Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills II (CIBS II), criterion-referenced: The CIBS II is a comprehensive collection of assessments in Reading/English Language Arts and Mathematics for students in Grades K–8. It can also be used for students assigned to higher grades whose academic skill levels fall within the K–8 range. Basically, I have integrated this into my hr compliance and related things.
Select appropriate assessments from either the IED III or the CIBS II. Some programs choose to administer assessments specific to a student’s needs or strengths, basing the assessments on prior information from formal assessments or student performance to establish a current present level of performance (PLOP) or present level of academic achievement and functional performance (PLAAFP) statement.
Because both the IED III and CIBS II are much too extensive to administer in their entirety, choose the assessments that are most relevant to the student’s current development or academic area of concern.
When deciding which specific assessments to administer, keep the following questions in mind:
- Which assessments are most relevant to the immediate concern or reason for a referral?
- Which assessments are more likely to yield the most valuable information within the time allowed?
- Which assessments can best be conducted in a particular setting?
- Which assessments meet program needs and requirements?
TIP: Once you have identified the assessments you will administer, mark them in the inventory (e.g., flag the pages with sticky notes).
![Two volumes of CIBS II and IED III. ]
In each assessment you plan to administer, select the item with which you will begin. Many assessments in the IED III span several years of development, and it is not always necessary or desirable to begin with the first item in a skill sequence. Likewise, many assessments in the CIBS II span several grade levels, and it is not always necessary or desirable to begin with the first item in a skill sequence.
In the IED III, developmental age notations are useful in determining the skill with which to begin assessment. These developmental age notations are the superscripted numbers before skills, indicating the age at which that skill typically emerges. A developmental age notation at the end of a skill sequence indicates the age by which all previous skills have typically been mastered.
TIP: In the student’s Record Book, use a highlighter to identify the assessment(s) and items with which you will begin. Using the color-coded system in the Record Book will allow you to identify mastered skills and instructional objectives and monitor progress over time.
![Page from IED III Record Book with one item highlighted.]
Identify any necessary accommodations and adapt assessment procedures accordingly. The criterion-referenced inventories are designed to be flexible in use, allowing for individual differences while still obtaining the most valid results. Accommodations during assessment enable students to more accurately demonstrate their knowledge. Accommodations permit alternate test settings, testing formats, response formats, timing, and test scheduling, all of which serve to demonstrate a student’s true mastery of a skill.
When evaluating students with special considerations, use the following general strategies in addition to the specific strategies provided.
- Keep a record of the accommodations implemented.
- Be aware of the test items and the way in which certain accommodations may impact performance and results.
- Be aware of the student’s strengths that will support reliable responses or those behaviours that may hinder reliable responses.
- Use information from families to identify what may act as a motivator to facilitate the student’s optimal performance.
TIP: Refer to the Evaluating Students with Special Considerations page in the Introduction section of the inventories.
![Page about Evaluating Children with Special Considerations from the IED III. ]
Use the information gathered from the assessments to identify PLAAFP. Because the skills within each assessment are sequenced from the earliest-mastered skills to more difficult ones, the student’s PLOP and PLAAFP can be pinpointed along the skill continuum.
![Page from IED III Record Book showing skills mastered and skills set as objectives marked. ]
Identify developmentally appropriate skills that will meet the student’s needs as instructional objectives. The skills immediately following those mastered in a skill sequence are logical skills to be identified as goals and objectives for a student’s annual IEP.
TIP: Each assessment provides a stem for writing compliant goals and objectives, which can be individualized for each student.
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