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ESSA Analysis * ESSA presentations * ESSA Resources

ESSA and Students with Disabilities

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 to one percent of all students tested. ESSA also provides states that may exceed the cap the opportunity to apply for a waiver for one year.

Alternate Assessment Resources:

Alternate Assessment Waivers to Exceed 1% Cap:


STATE REQUESTS FOR A WAVIER TO EXCEED ESSA 1% CAP ON ALTERNATE ASSESSMENTS IN SY 2017-2018
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 (3): ME, NJ and PA (due to failure to test at least 95% of students with disabilities)

Note: It is unclear whether some states that will exceed the cap have 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.


STATUS OF STATE REQUESTS FOR A WAVIER TO EXCEED ESSA 1% CAP ON ALTERNATE ASSESSMENTS IN SY 2018-2019
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))

AS OF 9-10-18: KY has announced its intent to request a waiver.

 
 
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