Assessing learning is critical, especially in special education. If a student makes progress in the areas identified on his/her IEP, then a number of things can be determined. We can say that our program is working, that our instructional strategies are good, and most importantly, that the student is being successful. We can say that the school has provided FAPE (a free appropriate public education). FAPE is not only required by schools to be provided, but it is what all students with disabilities deserve.
Learning happens when both the teacher is respected, as well as the learner. In order to measure if learning has happened, or to measure what has been learned (that is what progress has been made) – we must think about ways to assess that.
Formative and summative assessment are two ways to think about assessing students.