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Student Assessment - General Assessment Questions

Are there specific ethical standards regarding data use internally in schools?

Response from Matthew Burns, Ph.D.:

There are absolutely ethical standards and I appreciate you asking this question. Assessment issues are best interpreted through the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999), codes of ethics of the National Association of School Psychologists, the American Psychological Association, and federal laws. Jacob and Hartshorne (2007) examined the relevant codes of ethics and laws and concluded that assessments should be multifaceted, comprehensive, fair, useful, and valid. We (Burns, Wagner, & Jacob, 2008) summarized the RTI research relevant to these five facets and concluded that RTI-based assessment practices, when carefully crafted and implemented, have the potential to be multifaceted, fair, valid, and useful.


Potential threats to acceptable RTI-based assessment practices include: the lack of research-based interventions appropriate for diverse academic domains, ethnic groups, grades K-12, and students with limited English proficiency; uncertainty regarding how to determine when a non-response to intervention warrants formal referral for evaluation of special education eligibility; difficulty translating scientifically sound RTI practices to the local school level; and inadequate staff training and poor treatment fidelity.

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