What are Alternate Assessments and which States offer them?

Alternate assessments provide a way for schools to measure the progress of a small percentage of students with “significant cognitive disabilities” (as defined by the Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA). ESSA requires each state to limit those eligible for alternate assessments to one percent of students tested in a given subject. There are many components to alternate assessments, but the general purpose is to achieve educational accountability for every student.

According to the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), currently there is one type of alternate assessment: Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS). Based on the same grade-level content covered by the general assessment, but reduced in depth and complexity, NCEO states that these assessments “describe achievement based on what a state determines is a high expectation for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.” Some states used other types of alternate assessments in the recent past, but these have been phased out -- though information about them is still available for viewing at NCEO. At present, all states offer an AA-AAS.

To learn more about alternate assessments,you can visit the following resources:
https://nceo.info/Assessments/alternate_assessments
https://www.ed.gov/essa?src=rn
https://osepideasthatwork.org/node/132

By: Tamara Haskett
Data Entry Specialist