Guidebook to Including Students with Disabilities and English Learners in Assessments



Martha L. Thurlow

Sandra H. Warren

Magda Chia

This Guidebook was submitted to several groups for reviews of its content. The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) appreciates the time and attention that individuals in these groups gave to improving this Guidebook. The groups included:

  • State Assessment Directors
  • Council of Chief State School Officers’ (CCSSO) Assessing Special Education Students Collaborative
  • CCSSO’s English Learners Collaborative
  • CCSSO’s English Learner Assessment Advisory Task Force
  • CCSSO’s Students with Disabilities Assessment Advisory Task Force

Special thanks are due to Fen Chou, CCSSO, for facilitating the reviews of this Guidebook.

All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:


Thurlow, M. L., Warren, S. H., & Chia, M. (2020). Guidebook to including students with disabilities and English learners in assessments. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

The National Center on Educational Outcomes is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this document were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but does not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department ofEducation or Offices within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Project Officer: David Egnor

NCEO Partmers: Applied Engineering Management (AEM), Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE), and West Ed (WestEd)

The University of Minnesota shall provide equal access to and opportunity in its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.


National Center on Educational Outcomes

University of Minnesota, 207 Pattee Hall,150 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455

Phone 612/626-1530 • Fax 612/624-0879

NCEO Core Staff:

Sheryl S. Lazarus, Director

Deb A. Albus

Jessica Bowman

Gail Ghere

Linda Goldstone

Erik Larson

Kristi K. Liu

Charity Funfe Tatah Mentan

Michael L. Moore

Darrell Peterson

Christopher Rogers

Kathy Strunk

Martha L. Thurlow

Terri Vandercook

Yi-Chen Wu