Dissemination Terms of Agreement for the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI)
from the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC)
Purpose of the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI)
The Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) (Kearns, Kleinert, Kleinert, and Towles-Reeves,
2006) was developed by the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC) in order
to investigate the true learning characteristics of students participating in alternate
assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). The instrument was
intended to verify validity questions that extend our knowledge of the assessment
population to insure that 1) the test is designed for the intended population; and
2) the intended population is participating in the test (Kearns, 2006). The AERA,
APA, and NCME Joint Standards on Psychological Testing (1999) recommend
that “population(s) for which the test is appropriate should be clearly delimited”
(p.17). The students who participate in AA-AAS represent a highly diverse population
with varying levels of communication and other complex characteristics that impinge
on the assessment design and the interpretations that we want to make about the
assessment results. The LCI is designed to enhance the demographic data collection
for the test and when used appropriately, provide additional data to consider in
the validity evaluation for AA-AAS. The LCI should not be used as an assessment
device or in any other capacity where decisions would be made about students based
on the results.
Research Purposes for the LCI
NAAC had two research purposes for the LCI: 1) to describe the range of the characteristics
of learners who participate in AA-AAS and to describe the extent to which patterns
of those characteristics emerged across states, and 2) determining the utility of
the instrument in verifying differentiated responses to assessment items even at
the standard level by specific characteristic. In order to complete number 2 (which
was optional for a state), NAAC requested the student performance data to complete
the analysis for each state who participated, i.e., AA-AAS scores.
Technical Characteristics of the LCI
Researchers from NAAC along with field experts in the areas of Occupational Therapy,
Physical Therapy, Speech and Language Pathology, Deaf-Blindness, Reading, Mathematics
and Special Education worked together to develop the inventory. The instrument went
through expert validation and a small pilot with input considered; and a final pilot
was conducted prior to the release of the final inventory with an appropriate level
of reliability (i.e., 95% inter-rater agreement). Nine of the 10 questions are based
on a continuum of skills in the areas of expressive communication, receptive language,
vision, hearing, motor, engagement, health issues/attendance, reading and mathematics.
The last question looks at whether or not the student uses an augmentative communication
system. Once an individual state has determined who was taking the AA-AAS, they
were able to make informed, data-based decisions about the design and administration
of their AA-AAS.
Administration of the LCI
During the study administration there were three options for administering the LCI.
Option one was to use an online survey software package (i.e., surveymonkey or zoomerang)
to gather the results through a survey format. With this option, the survey was
very easy to administer but the trade off was a lowered response rate. Option two
was to make the instrument part of the assessment in the state so it was completed
either with the demographic data for each assessment in a scannable form or in an
electronic submission database. This option increased the response rate to nearly
100% but required some background work to include as part of the assessment process.
A third option was to require the LCI be completed as part of the identification
of students for the AA-AAS. With this option, the response rate was near 100% but
there was a period of time between completion of the LCI and completion of the assessment
which would require the results be linked (especially if a state was interested
in verifying differentiated responses to assessment items).
How was the data used by NAAC?
During the study, NAAC analyzed the state’s data and sent a report in a Microsoft
Word format with text explaining the findings and data tables for each item on the
LCI. The raw data set or aggregated data were used only by NAAC and were not available
for use by others. NAAC compared data across states that choose to share the data
and reported it in refereed journal manuscripts, presentations for conferences,
etc. When data was shared, NAAC removed state names. For example, Kentucky became
Terms of Agreement for LCI Use
To utilize the LCI, the state must agree to the following terms and conditions in
writing by reading the Terms of Agreement and clicking agree when prompted to do
- State agrees to use the LCI in its entirety without altering any of the items (a
state may add or delete entire items, but cannot change any of the existing questions
or response options).
- State agrees to use the LCI only for the purpose for which it was intended (validity
documentation for the population of students taking the alternate assessment based
on alternate achievement standards).
- The LCI belongs to the University of Kentucky/National Alternate Assessment Center
and should be cited appropriately (see citation below).
- Subsequent use of the LCI is available by permission only from the University of
Kentucky/National Alternate Assessment Center.
- The LCI is proprietary and should only be used by the requesting state. It should
not be shared with other states and/or their contractors without permission in writing
from the author(s).
Citation for the LCI should be:
Kearns, J., Kleinert, H., Kleinert, J., and Towles-Reeves, E. (2006). Learner Characteristics
Inventory. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky, National Alternate