Bias-Free Assessment, Evaluation, and Reporting

  • Special School District will provide appropriate and bias-free assessment, evaluation, and reporting to equitably meet the educational needs to maximize the learning potential of all students.

    Special School District has the responsibility and honor of helping individuals with disabilities receive the support they specifically need. This process begins with the area of evaluation which measures (such as rating scales, achievement assessments, a measure of IQ, and observations) are used to determine the strengths of the individual, the areas of need, and the amount of need. Because of the desire to provide the most strategic support possible, the assessments must be the best ones for learning about each student. 

    Different assessments and modes of assessment have different strengths and weaknesses. The examiner must know these things to match the assessment to the student. The greater the match, the greater the likelihood that the data provided will accurately reflect the student and their capabilities and needs.

    The action plan for this principle focuses on an in-depth analysis of the assessment tools and protocols. It uses an outcomes-based inquiry process to determine bias trends that need to be addressed. The work of the school psychologists in their investigation of inequities in diagnosis aligns with this principle. Future studies of data and/or file review will help us investigate other trends in bias.

Questions to Consider

    • Do we consider fair-mindedness, reasonableness, and objectivity in our assessment measures? What checks and balances do we have in place to counter unconscious or undisclosed prejudices in assessment? 
    • Are the assessment tools that are being used designed for the population being assessed? What groups were in the morning population? What are the known limitations of the instrument? What alternative more closely matches the unique characteristics of the individual being assessed (i.e., are we using the best assessment currently for this specific child)?
    • What multiple assessment tools and collections were used in decision-making? 
    • How do we assess, evaluate, and report our findings in the language in which the people are most comfortable, or do we need a cultural interpreter available (i.e., spoken language, braille, sign language)?
    • Do the assessment and evaluation allow for consideration of the experiences or lack of the experiences of the individual? 
    • How can we ensure that all stakeholders' voices relevant to the evaluation are present and their perspectives are heard and included? 
    • Is our language culturally sensitive to the diversity of perspectives among the evaluation group?