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Ask an Expert: My son skipped pages of CSAP!

Q. My son recently went off an IEP he was on from fourth grade until first quarter of eighth grade. Now he no longer has extra time on CSAP exams and felt pretty stressed out when he did CSAP this year. He actually missed four pages of his math CSAP test. He said the papers must have stuck together.  I realize he should have checked his work at the end – but I think between the stress of the time limit now and CSAP in general – he made a mistake. Now his math CSAP score will mean nothing since he will have so many unanswered questions. Is it possible for him to retake this test?  He’s very good at math – earns B’s and occasionally C’s. Isn’t that why proctors are there – to make sure kids are on the correct pages?  – Leann of Longmont

A. As a standardized test, CSAP requires very specific testing conditions. The proctors are there to make sure that the


testing conditions are standard. They can offer no guidance or help to students in any way, other than to make sure that the student is working on the correct subtest during the testing session. As long as he was working on the correct subtest, the proctors followed the testing procedures as required. If he had worked on a different subtest, the entire test would have been invalid. Again, as a standardized test, there are no opportunities for a student to retake the test or a section of the test. Make-up sessions are only allowed in the case of student absence and only within a set period of time.

I sense your frustration in your question and can offer some suggestions for future standardized tests:

  • Your son can be allowed accommodations on CSAP if he typically receives such accommodations. For instance, if he usually receives extra time on school tests or is given tests in a smaller setting, he can receive these same accommodations for CSAP.
  • His teachers can recommend accommodations based on his learning needs, provide them during regular instruction, and document these accommodations. He can then be allowed the same accommodations on standardized tests such as CSAP. It is reasonable for a student who was on an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) for several years to receive such accommodations after transitioning out of special education services.
  • It is likely that you will need to ask for these accommodations and make sure that he is receiving them throughout the school year. If he does not receive accommodations throughout the school year then he will not be eligible to receive them for CSAP.

As you indicated in the question, you feel that his math test score for this year is inaccurate and will not reflect his true achievement. Just keep this in mind when you receive a copy of his CSAP results in the fall. It is one indicator of his achievement, but it certainly does not tell the whole story. And, in this case, you have reason to believe that this indicator is not accurate.

It is disappointing, but the good news is that there will be few, if any, repercussions.  His placement for math classes in high school will be based on his coursework and teacher recommendations, not on CSAP results. His teachers will be looking at multiple measures of his work, such as grades, achievement on district tests, and teacher observations. I would learn from this situation and help him get accommodations for testing if he needs them or help him learn general test-taking skills that can help him in all test-taking situations.

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