Jean Clayton, M.A. Sp.Ed.

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Jean Clayton, M.A. Sp. Education, is a Research Associate with over 30 years of experience as an educator and alternate assessment expert. 

Currently, Ms. Clayton serves as the Alternate Assessment Specialist for the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program – Alternate, for science and social studies. In this role, she has assisted in the development of a series of 24 content modules that support the delivery of rigorous science and social studies instruction to students with significant cognitive disabilities. She has also been involved in work relating to the prioritization of assessment standards, writing alternate assessment targets, and reviewing test items to ensure their age- and grade-appropriateness, difficulty level, and adaptability to multiple types of scaffolding. In addition, she has facilitated an on-site differentiation study to examine the changes in content across grades in the TCAP-Alt, and led the development of grade 2 ELA test items. 

In a similar role, on the Mississippi Assessment Program – Alternate, Ms. Clayton develops writing tasks and reviews passages and task materials to ensure that student performance on these exams is aligned to the general academic content standards. She has also served as an Alternate Assessment Specialist for the California Alternate Assessment, to develop Core Content Connectors linking The California Alternate Assessments for Science to the California Next Generation Science Standards.

Recently, Ms. Clayton served as an English Language Arts Content Expert for development of New York State Department of Education (NYSED)’s Regents exam test items. She conducted virtual trainings and in-person workshops with educators, led them through the development of items for grades 3 – 8, and revised educator-developed items to assure alignment with the NYS P-12 Common Core Learning Standards and Enhanced Item Specifications. She has also served as an ELA Content Area Expert on the Degrees of Reading Power project (measure of literacy skills), reviewing new test forms, and aligning items to college and career anchors.

Prior to joining edCount in 2013, Ms. Clayton served as a Technical Assistance Specialist for the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) through the University of Kentucky, providing training to project stakeholders on the Common Core State Standards, ELA and mathematics curriculum, instruction, and assessment with an emphasis on increasing access for students with significant disabilities. Upon joining edCount, she continued her work on NCSC as an assessment team member. She worked with center and state partners to review, monitor, and refine assessment materials as well as supported the development of curriculum documents, and facilitated an ELA alignment study panel.

Previously, Ms. Clayton worked as an Alternate Assessment Consultant for Keystone Assessment, LLC, where she developed processes for designing Hawaii’s alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards, and provided training and ongoing technical assistance to the project on content standards, curriculum, and assessment. As a Technical Assistance Specialist for the Inclusive Large-Scale Standards and Assessment Project (ILSSA) at the University of Kentucky, Ms. Clayton developed a systematic process to address the general curriculum for students with significant disabilities and served as the state coordinator for the Kentucky Assessment Project. Under this role, Ms. Clayton also provided technical assistance in the development of alternate assessment systems to several states including Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Delaware, and Georgia.

Ms. Clayton taught elementary education and special education in Kentucky for 22 years, with most of those years teaching students with significant cognitive disabilities. She earned a Master’s of Special Education from Murray State University and a B.S. in Elementary Education from Eastern Kentucky University. She is certified to teach Elementary, Middle School, and Exceptional Children, with a specialization in moderate and severe disabilities. Ms. Clayton has also received a Commonwealth of Kentucky Endorsement for Teaching Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities.