Models of Cognition for Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities: Implications for Assessment

Mar. 20, 2009

Source: Review of Educational Research, Volume 79, Issue 1; p. 301-326 (March 2009).

With the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act (2002 ), all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, must be included in measures of large-scale educational assessment and accountability.
This article addresses the application of the assessment triangle developed by the National Research Council (Pellegrino, Chudowsky, & Glaser, 2001). Specifically, the article focuses on the first vertex of the assessment triangle, that of cognition, to examine characteristics of students with significant cognitive disabilities in representing what they know.
Therefore, It is essential to examine how the primary elements of knowledge representation and competence identified by Pellegrino et al. for all students have special ramifications for students with significant cognitive disabilities. It is only in the development of such a model of competence that it is possible to construct alternate assessments for these students that validly represent what these students know and can do.

Pellegrino, J., Chudowsky, N., & Glaser, R. (Eds.). (2001). Knowing what students know: The science and design of educational assessment. Washington, DC: Committee on the Foundations of Assessment, National Academies Press.

Updated: May. 20, 2009