Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) –
Kearns, Kleinert, Kleinert, & Towles-Reeves (2006)
The ARC is required to complete each item on the Learner Characteristics Inventory as a tool to discuss the characteristics of the student when considering the eligibility of the student participating in the alternate assessment.
The LCI is to be completed after reviewing the participation criteria. The LCI is not to be used as an evaluation tool. The purpose and use of the Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) is to describe the population of students who take alternate assessments on alternate achievement standards and to assist in designing assessments that consider the unique characteristics of the population.
The Learner Characteristics Inventory (LCI) has two primary purposes:
- to describe the range of the characteristics of learners who participate in the alternate assessment
- to describe the extent to which patterns of those characteristics emerged within and across states and local districts
Overview of the LCI
There are twelve questions (or indicators) that must be answered about the student in the LCI. The teacher or team member with knowledge of the student simply chooses the response under each indicator that best describes the student or the services the student currently receives.
- Indicator responses are subject to change as interventions, supports and services are implemented to promote progress.
- All items on the LCI will be completed annually as the student is found eligible to participate in an alternate assessment.
- When completing all items on the LCI, select the response that BEST describes the student and/or services the student is receiving for each indicator
This is the start of the Learner Characteristics Inventory:
Select the student’s primary disability noted on the eligibility determination form and IEP.
Available data confirm that most students with significant cognitive disabilities are in the categories of intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities. Although these are not the only disability categories reflected in the population of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, they are the most prevalent. Even though disability category or EL status cannot determine whether a student is one with a significant cognitive disability, districts may want to study those cases in which students with learning disabilities, other health impairments, and speech-language impairments are participating in the state alternate assessment to confirm that it is the most appropriate assessment for each student.
- Red flag – any disability no including cognitive in the disability eligibility determinations.
-The indicator asks specifically if the student’s primary language is a language other than English? (These may be students who also don’t use oral speech but this refers to the language they hear at home regardless of whether they “speak” the language or not)
Guiding Questions for ARC
If the answer to the indicator question is Yes, a team member with knowledge of EL should review and discuss these guiding questions with all ARC members:
- What is the student’s primary social language?
- What is the student’s primary academic language?
- Does the student qualify as an English Learner with a significant cognitive disability as described in the KDE definition of a EL student with a significant cognitive disability?
- What is the student’s individual ACCESS/Alternate ACCESS scores and what do they mean?
This information can be gathered through communication with parents, present levels of communication or from evaluation reports. If the parent’s native language is anything other than English, it is important that an interpreter be present to communicate with the ARC.
- red flag: student communicates at home but not school.
- red flag: the student is achieving elp at a moderate rate. (progress)
The student’s primary classroom setting is the student’s least restrictive environment as noted on the IEP. The primary classroom setting is where the students spends the highest percentage of their school day. Special School can include home/hospital setting.
- red flags: options 4 and 5
Expressive Communication Skills
What is the students primary mode of expressive communication as noted on the IEP?
Expressive Communication Indicators
A communication plan should be in place for any student with pre-symbolic and emerging symbolic communication skills. With intensive intervention, it is likely that a communication system can be identified for many students at the pre-symbolic and emerging symbolic levels.Information on the students current communication skills can be found in the present levels of the IEP, in the most recent evaluation report and/or from parent or teacher observations.
- symbolic language – could be oral speech, single words, repeating words, use of picture symbols, textures, or augmentative communication device, pointing, gesturing, etc.
- emerging symbolic language – Uses intentional communication, but not at a symbolic language level: Student uses understandable communication through such modes as gestures, pictures, objects/textures, points, etc., to clearly express a variety of intentions.
- pre-symbolic language – communicates primarily through cries, facial expressions, change in muscle tone, etc., but no clear use of objects/textures, regularized gestures, pictures, signs, etc., to communicate.
- red flag: uses symbolic language consistently in addition to other red flag indicators
5. Does the student use oral speech to communicate?
This item refers to the student’s use of oral speech. Does the student use oral speech through words to communicate? – indicate yes or no.
Information on the student’s current communication skills can be found in the present levels of the IEP, in the most recent evaluation report and/or from parent or teacher observations.
6. Does the student use an augmentative communication system in addition to or in place of oral speech? If yes, the ARC should discuss how consistently the student uses the device and if an appropriate communication plan is in place on the IEP.
7. What is the student’s primary mode of receptive language as noted in the IEP?
Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are likely to participate in the alternate assessment include students with diverse receptive communication skills.
If the best description of the student’s receptive language skills is an uncertain response to sensory stimuli, then it is absolutely essential to seek intervention for that student and identify AAC options and develop an appropriate communication plan on the IEP.
- Red flag: The top two description of this indicator are the most often identified. A high percentage of independent direction followers may indicate over identification of student with mild intellectual (mental) disabilities
Motor and Engagement
8. Motor: Select the best description of the individual student’s current motor functioning.
Many students with motor disabilities may have trouble crossing the midline or indicating a choice. This is also an indicator that helps identify supports.
This information can be found in the student present levels on the IEP.
9. Engagement: Select the best description of the individual student current engagement level.
Even students who communicate may not engage in social communication. Select the best indicator of how the student engages with others. Information regarding the student’s current level of engagement can be obtained through observations or through the most current evaluation report.
Health and Attendance
10. Health Issues/Attendance: Select the best description of the individual student’s health and attendance description.
Students with significant cognitive disabilities may often be absent from school because of medical conditions. Missing school is also missing instruction. A student can not be found eligible to participate in the alternate assessment based on their attendance and health issues.
The ARC must discuss the impact of the attendance if it impacts the student’s progress. The student’s attendance can not be the primary reason for the ARC decision for a student to participate in the alternate assessment.
This information can be obtained through school attendance records and through communicating with the parents about current health issues and/or reasons for absences.
Reading and Mathematics Skills
11. Reading: select the indicator that best describes the student’s current performance in reading.
Information regarding the student’s current level of reading can be found in the student’s present levels of performance on the IEP, through observations, and/or through current evaluation reports.
12. Mathematics: select the indicator that best describes the student’s performance.
Information regarding the student’s current level of mathematics can be found in the student’s present levels of performance on the IEP, through observations and work samples, and/or through current evaluation reports.
- Red flag: completes math computations with minimal prompts etc. reads fluently with understanding
LCI Guiding Questions for the ARC
Here are some questions members of the ARC can contemplate after completing the Learner Characteristics Inventory for a student.
- Do the indicators selected for the student support that the student has a significant cognitive disability?
- How does the student’s characteristics compare to the definition of a student with a significant cognitive disabilities?
- How does the student’s characteristics compare to those reflected in the population of students who typically participate in an alternate assessment?
If you have any questions regarding the training document, contact the Kentucky Department of Education at 502-564-4970 or KDEAltAssessment@education.ky.gov