Alternate Assessment aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and its implementing Federal regulations authorize one alternate assessment for students with disabilities. It is the Alternate Assessment aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS). This assessment is for student with the most significant cognitive disabilities. ESSA prohibits states from developing any other alternate assessment for students with disabilities. All students with disabilities must participate in either the general assessment for the grade in which the student is enrolled or the AA-AAAS. Students with disabilities must be provided appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure their academic achievement.
ESSA caps the number of students who can be assessed via the AA-AAAS at one percent of all students tested. ESSA also provides states that may exceed the one percent cap the opportunity to apply for a waiver for one year.
Alternate Assessment Resources:
Alternate Assessment Waivers to Exceed the One Percent Cap:
STATE REQUESTS FOR A WAIVER TO EXCEED ESSA 1% CAP ON ALTERNATE ASSESSMENTS IN THE 2017-2018 SCHOOL YEAR:
(All USED waiver response letters are available here. Waivers are good for one year.)
- Waivers were approved for the following states (20): AR, DE, GA, ID, KY, LA, MA, MI, MO, MS, NC, ND, NE, OH, OK, SD, TN, TX, WV, WI
- Waivers were partially approved for the following states (3): AZ, HI, IN (approved for ELA/Math, denied for Science assessment)
- Waivers were denied for the following states (4): ME, NJ and PA (due to failure to test at least 95% of students with disabilities) and AL due to failure to submit request in a timely manner)
Note: It is unclear whether some states that would exceed the cap in 2017-2018 refrained from requesting a waiver due to failure to meet the requirement of testing at least 95% of all students and/or at least 95% of students with disabilities in state assessments. We are aware of 2 states that have done this: OR and UT.
STATE REQUESTS FOR A WAVIER TO EXCEED ESSA 1% CAP ON ALTERNATE ASSESSMENTS IN 2018-2019 SCHOOL YEAR:
States requesting to extend a waiver for an additional year must demonstrate substantial progress towards achieving the prior year's plan and timeline (34 CFR section 200.6 (c)(4)(C)(v)) USED urges states to make waiver information available to the public.
Refer to these memos to states for add't information:
POLICY MEMO: To States Regarding the Cap on the Percentage of Students who may be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment (Aug. 27, 2018)
POLICY MEMO: Information Regarding Consequences for States Not Meeting the Requirement to Assess Not More than 1.0 Percent of Students on the Alternate Assessment (March 28, 2019)
AS OF 5-1-19:
- The following states (10) have announced their intent to request an extension of their one year waiver for the 2018-2019 School Year and have provided the required information in the waiver request posted for public comment: AR, AZ (Science only), ID, IN, KY, OH, OK, NC, TX, WV.
- The following states (4) have announced their intent to request an extension of their one year waiver and have not provided the required information on which the public could comment: GA, LA, MA, MI, TN.
- The following states (3) have requested a first-time waiver for 2018-2019: DC, IL, RI.
- Waiver extension requests have been approved for the following states (15): AR, AL, DE (denied for Science), GA, ID, IN, KY, LA, MA, MI, NE, OH, OK, TX, WV.
- First-time waivers have been approved for the following states (2): DC, RI (denied for Science).
ALSO OF INTEREST: The state of GA has requested a waiver to permit the state to exclude the results of all students assessed on the state's alternate assessment in 2018-2019.