Publications & Resources
Exploring Factors that Affect the Accessibility of Reading Comprehension Assessments for Students With Disabilities: A Study of Segmented Text
Jamal Abedi, Jenny C. Kao, Seth Leon, Lisa Sullivan, Joan L. Herman, Rita Pope, Veena Nambiar, and Ann M. Mastergeorge
This study sought to explore factors that affect the accessibility of reading comprehension assessments for students with disabilities. The study consisted of testing students using reading comprehension passages that were broken down into shorter “segments” or “chunks.” The results of the segmenting study indicated that: (a) segmenting did not affect reading performance of students without disabilities; suggesting that it does not compromise the validity of reading assessment; (b) segmenting did not affect reading performance of students with disabilities; (c) the segmented version had a higher reliability for students with disabilities without affecting the reliability for students without disabilities; and (d) no trends were observed with student motivation, general emotions and moods with respect to the segmented assessment. The study also introduced the idea of incorporating some commonly used accommodations for students with disabilities, such as test breaks, into the assessment. Limitations of the study included a disability sample with mostly students with specific learning disabilities and a high number of ELL students, as well as a reading assessment that only tested for reading comprehension and not other components of reading. More research using the methods in this study with different subjects can potentially shed additional light on accessibility issues in reading comprehension tests.
Abedi, J., Kao, J. C., Leon, S., Sullivan, L., Herman, J. L., Pope, R., … Mastergeorge, A. M. (2008). Exploring factors that affect the accessibility of reading comprehension assessments for students with disabilities: A study of segmented text (CRESST Report 746). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).