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States’ Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2008

Synthesis Report 71

Sheryl S. Lazarus, Christopher Rogers, Damien Cormier, Martha L. Thurlow

December 2008

All rights reserved. Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:

Lazarus, S. S., Rogers, C., Cormier, D., & Thurlow, M. L. (2008). States’ participation guidelines for alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS) in 2008 (Synthesis Report 71). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.


Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Overview

Results

Discussion

References

Appendix A: Participation Guidelines Characteristics by State

Appendix B: State Documents Used in Analysis

 


Executive Summary

Federal regulations (U.S. Department of Education, 2007a) provide states with the flexibility to offer an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). This assessment option is for a small group of students with disabilities who can make significant progress, but may not reach grade-level achievement within the time period covered by their Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students who participate in an AA-MAS must have access to grade-level content. States are not required to offer this option. This report compiles, analyzes, and summarizes states’ participation guidelines for the AA-MAS. All criteria included in this study were publicly available on states’ Web sites.

In June 2008 nine states (California, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas) had participation guidelines for student participation on an AA-MAS, though—as of August 2008— none had successfully completed the U.S. Department of Education’s peer review process that determines whether the assessment fulfills the necessary requirements for the state to receive federal funds. Some of the states’ participation criteria included flow charts, decision trees, or checklists. Almost half of the states required that IEP teams consider implications for graduation when making decisions regarding how a student will participate in the assessment system.

The participation guidelines differed across states, but all states required the student to have an IEP. At least two-thirds of the states had the following criteria: consideration of previous performance on multiple measures, learning grade-level content, not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP, cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations, and not based on disability category label.


Overview

Federal legislation requires that all students, including students with disabilities, be included in state accountability systems. Many students can take the regular assessment with or without accommodations, but some students with disabilities need alternate ways to access assessments. A few students take alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). In April 2007, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) regulations on modified academic achievement standards were finalized, giving states additional flexibility. States have the option of providing an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). Students who participate in this option must have an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) and have access to grade-level content. Their progress to date, in response to appropriate instruction, must be such that the student is unlikely to achieve grade-level proficiency within the year covered by the IEP. The students may be from any disability category (U.S. Department of Education, 2007a).

Some states have an assessment they consider to be an AA-MAS even though—as of November 2008—none have successfully completed the U.S. Department of Education peer review process that determines whether the assessment fulfills the necessary requirements.

In 2007 the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) tracked and analyzed states’ participation guidelines that determined which students would participate in an AA-MAS and the characteristics of states’ AA-MAS (Lazarus, Thurlow, Christensen, & Cormier, 2007). Because so much more information may now be publicly available, this year NCEO is publishing two separate updates—this report on participation guidelines and a forthcoming NCEO synthesis report on the characteristics of states’ AA-MAS (including information on test design changes).

Need to Update and Analyze

Lazarus et al. (2007) provided a snapshot of what was happening shortly after the regulations were finalized. The landscape surrounding the AA-MAS is changing rapidly. Now that the regulations (U.S. Department of Education, 2007a) have been available for a year and a half and peer review guidance (U.S. Department of Education, 2007b) has been available almost a year—and some states have gone through the Federal peer review process (though not successfully), it is possible that there have been changes.

Specific questions that we sought to answer in this study included:

1. In July 2008 which states had participation guidelines for students to qualify to participate in an AA-MAS option??

Process Used to Find Information About States’ AA-MAS

In general, procedures used for this analysis of states’ participation guidelines were similar to the procedures used in the past. This report compiles and summarizes states’ participation guidelines that included criteria for students to qualify to participate in an AA-MAS option. Data were gathered from state Web sites in June 2008. States were e-mailed the Web links to participation guidelines that we found and asked to verify that we had found the most current criteria. If additional criteria or more complete information was identified, we updated our data prior to analysis. We did not attempt to determine the degree to which the participation guidelinesmet the federal requirements.

Summary figures are in the main body of this report, while the complete tables are presented in Appendix A. A comparison was made, where possible, to similar information in the 2007 report. All information in this report that refers to 2007 participation guidelines is from Lazarus et al. (2007).

Appendix B contains a list of the documents we used in this analysis. Appendix C contains a compilation of states’ 2008 participation guidelines for those readers who would prefer to see the actual state guidelines.


Results

Nine states—California, Connecticut, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas—had publicly available participation guidelines for student participation in an assessment they considered to be an AA-MAS in June 2008. Six of these states had had participation guidelines in 2007 (e.g., Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, North Carolina, North Dakota, and Oklahoma) (Lazarus et al. 2007)—though several of them had revised the guidelines since the previous report.

Format

The formats of the participation guidelines documents differed across states. All nine states had written descriptions of the criteria (see Figure 1). The textual description segments ranged from a few bulleted points to multiple pages. Four states had a flow chart or decision tree and three states had a checklist. The flow charts or decision trees were conceptual representations of the decision-making process. The checklists, on the other hand, were forms—typically asking a series of yes/no questions—to be completed by IEP teams. Additional details about the participation guidelines formats are available in Appendix A in Tables A-1 and A-2.

Figure 1. Format of Participation Guidelines Documents for AA-MAS.

Combination Participation

The participation guidelines of eight states allowed a combination participation testing option—e.g., a student may take different parts of different tests. For example, a student could take the regular mathematics and science assessments, and the AA-MAS reading/ELA assessment. The guidelines of two states explicitly indicated that in different content areas the student may participate in any of the assessment options (e.g., regular assessment, AA-MAS, or AA-AAS) (see Figure 2). The North Dakota guidelines listed the available assessment options, followed by the statement, "Any combination of the above in different content areas." The Kansas guidelines said, "Eligibility must be determined for each content area separately."

Figure 2. Combination Participation

The guidelines of three states indicated that students may participate in more than one assessment option, but did not allow combination participation across the AA-AAS and AA-MAS. For example, in North Carolina the AA-AAS is called the NCEXTEND1 and the AA-MAS is called the NCEXTEND2. The guidelines indicated that, "The IEP team may determine that a student is to be assessed with modified academic achievement standards (NCEXTEND2) in one or more subjects for which the assessments are administered." However, later in the North Carolina guidelines, there was the following statement: "If the IEP team determines, based on the eligibility criteria shown below, that the NCEXTEND1 is the most appropriate assessment for a student, then that student must be assessed with the NCEXTEND1 in all subjects assessed at that grade level."

Additional details about combination participation are available in Appendix A, Table A-3.

Parent Notification and Graduation Considerations

Six states’ participation guidelines indicated that parents must be informed if their child will participate in an AA-MAS (see Figure 3). For example, the Connecticut guidelines stated that:

Since parents are a part of the IEP team, they must be part of the decision making process. Additionally, they must be fully informed that their child’s progress will be measured based on the modified academic achievement standards. This is met through documentation of prior written notice, as well as the IEP page that addresses statewide assessments.

Figure 3. Parent Notification and Graduation Considerations Information.

The guidelines in four states required that any implications for graduation must be considered in the decision-making process. According to the California guidelines, a student who participates in its AA-MAS assessment option was "not precluded from attempting to complete course requirements, as defined by the State, for a regular high school diploma."

Additional details about parent notification and consideration of implications for graduation requirements are available in Appendix A in Table A-4.

Participation Criteria

States had different criteria that were to be used to make participation decisions. The participation guidelines had some similarities across states—but there also were many important differences (see figure 4).

Has IEP. All nine states’ participation guidelines indicated that for a student to qualify for an AA-MAS he or she must have an IEP—that is, the student must already be identified as a student with disabilities and receiving special education services. For example, the Kansas criterion said, "The student must have a current IEP."

Learning Grade Level Content. Most states indicated that the student must be learning grade level content (n=7). In California the guidelines stated that, "The student who is assessed with the CMA [California Modified Assessment] has access to the curriculum, including instruction and materials for the grade in which the student is enrolled." And, according to Texas participation guidelines, "Every student should have an IEP that reflects access to the grade-level TEKS [Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills]... "

Previous Performance on Multiple Measures. Seven states required IEP teams to consider multiple measures when making AA-MAS participation decisions. Frequently mentioned multiple measures included state, district, and classroom assessment results. For example, in Texas the participation guidelines indicated that multiple measures "may include, but are not limited to: state-developed assessments, informal and formal classroom assessments, norm-referenced tests, and criterion-referenced tests." The Maryland criterion said:

Examples include the State assessments, district wide assessment, data gathered from classroom assessments, and other formative assessments that can validate documented academic achievement in response to appropriate instruction. There must be enough time to document the progress (or lack of progress) in response to appropriate instruction.

Cannot Demonstrate Knowledge on Regular Assessment Even with Provision of Accommodations. Another frequently mentioned criterion was that the student cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations (n=6 states). For example, the California criterion stated that, ‘the student will not receive a proficient score on the CST [California Standards Test] (even with the provision of accommodations) based on evidence from multiple, valid, and objective measures of student progress (or lack of progress)."

Not Based on Disability Category Label. Six states’ participation guidelines indicated that the decision should not be based on disability category labels. In Oklahoma, the decision "shall not be based on a particular disability category." Other states provided more detail. For example, Connecticut indicated that:

Eligible students may have a disability in any disability category: autism, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, specific learning disability, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, speech and language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, or other health impairment. Typically, but not always, you may find students in the following categories to be eligible: intellectual disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, or multiple disabilities; the disability category alone does not make a student eligible to take the CMT/CAPT (MAS).

Not Progressing at Rate Expected to Reach Grade Level Proficiency. The participation guidelines of many states included a criterion that the student was not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP (n=6 states). For example, the North Carolina criterion said: "The student’s progress in response to high-quality instruction is such that the student is not likely to achieve grade-level proficiency within the school year covered by the IEP." The California criterion, stated:

The student’s progress to date in response to appropriate grade-level instruction, including special education and related services designed to address the student’s individual needs, is such that, even if significant growth occurs, the IEP team is reasonably certain that the student will not achieve grade-level proficiency within the year covered by the student’s IEP plan.

Goals Based on Grade Level Content Standards. More than half of the states included in this study (n=5 states) indicated that the student’s IEP goals must be based on grade-level content standards. For example, the Connecticut criterion stated, "The IEP must document goals that address the skills specified in the content standards for the grade in which the student is enrolled."

Receives Accommodations During Classroom Instruction. Five states indicated that the student must receive accommodations during classroom instruction. In Connecticut, the eligibility criterion said, "Student receives classroom accommodations that have also been used during state/district assessment. And the Louisiana criterion indicated:

The Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to provide the student with accommodations and modifications to ensure the student progresses towards meeting his or her IEP goals and objectives related to the general education curriculum.

Receives Specialized/Individualized Instruction. The participation guidelines documents of five states included whether the student received specialized or individualized instruction as a decision-making criterion for the AA-MAS. The North Dakota criterion indicated that, "The students’ curriculum [is] so individualized that the general assessment will not reflect what the student is being taught (even with accommodations)." And Kansas indicated that for a student to qualify to participate in an AA-MAS, the student must need "significant changes in the complexity and scope of the general standards to show progress in the curriculum," and "requires intensive specially designed instruction and requires intensive individualized supports and requires extensive instruction."

Not Due to Excessive Absences, Social, Cultural, Language, Economic, or Environmental Factors. Four states indicated that decisions about whether a student qualified for participation in the AA-MAS may not be based on excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors. Often any given state did not include all of these factors in its guidelines (See Appendix A, Table A-6 for details and specifications). In Connecticut the decision-making flowchart asked the following question, "Is the student’s difficulty with regular curriculum demands primarily due to his/her disability and not due to excessive absences unrelated to the disability, or social, cultural, environmental, or economic factors?" The Connecticut guidelines also said, "Students who are solely on a 504 plan, or who are English Language Learners (ELL) and are not on an IEP, are not eligible." For California, the guidelines said:

  • The decision to participate in the CMA [California Modified Assessment] is not based on excessive or extended absences.

  • The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on language, culture, or economic differences.

Not Receiving Instruction Based on Extended or Alternate Standards. Four states indicated that for a student to participate in an AA-MAS, the student should not be receiving instruction based on extended or alternate standards (or that the student must not be eligible to participate in the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards—i.e., AA-AAS). For example, the North Carolina criterion stated, "the student IS NOT receiving instruction in the NCSCS [North Carolina State Content Standards] through the Extended Content Standards."

Previous Performance on State Assessment. Several states (n = 4 states) indicated that a student’s previous performance on the state’s assessment should be considered. For example, the California guidelines said:

The student shall have taken the California Standards Test (CST) in a previous year and scored Below Basic or Far Below Basic in the subject area being assessed by the CMA [California Modified Assessment] and may have taken the CST with modifications. Previous participation in the California Alternate Assessment (CAPA) shall not preclude a student from participation in the CMA. The student shall have taken the CAPA Level 2-5 in two previous years and received a performance level of either Proficient or Advanced.

Some states guidelines specifically addressed third grade students who have not previously taken a state assessment. For example, Oklahoma’s guidelines said, "When OCCT [Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests] scores from previous years are not available (e.g., Grade 3), the IEP team may substitute scores equivalent to unsatisfactory from local assessments to identify student." North Carolina’s guidelines said, "Grade 3 students whose IEP teams feel that NCEXTEND2 is the appropriate assessment for the spring end of grade testing should participate in the general administration of the Pretest—Grade 3."

Not Based on Placement Setting. Three states’ guidelines stated that participation decisions should not be based on placement setting. For example, Louisiana’s guidelines said, "The decision to test the student in LAA2 [LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 2] is not based on placement setting;" and Oklahoma’s guidelines said that the decision, "shall not be based on the location of service delivery."

Does Not Have a Significant Cognitive Disability. The guidelines of three states indicated that students who qualify for an AA-MAS should not have a significant cognitive disability. For example, the North Carolina guidelines said, "The student IS NOT identified as having a significant cognitive disability."

Performance Multiple Years Behind Grade Level Expectations. Two states had guidelines which indicated that the performance of students who participated in an AA-MAS should be multiple years behind grade level expectations. The Louisiana guidelines said, "Student’s IEP reflects a functioning grade level in English language arts (including reading) at least three (3) grade levels below the actual grade level in which he or she is enrolled." The Kansas guidelines asked, "Is the student multiple years behind grade level expectations?"

Additional Information About Participation Criteria

More detailed state specific information, specifications, and descriptions about the criteria are in Tables A-5 and A-6 in Appendix A.

The participation guidelines decision points were prioritized differently across the decision-tree documents used in several states (see the compiled criteria in Appendix C). For example, on the Kansas decision flowchart, the first decision point was whether the student’s instruction and IEP goals and objectives were based primarily on the Extended Content Standards, benchmarks, and indicators, whereas on Oklahoma’s decision tree the first decision point was whether the student had a disability resulting in "substantial academic difficulties."

Changes Since 2007

There have been a number of changes to states’ participation guidelines since the 2007 report (Lazarus et al. 2007). In 2007, the criteria of four of the six states that we tracked that year indicated that the student’s performance should be multiple years behind grade level expectations. In this analysis only two states had this criterion. Four states in 2007 had a criterion that indicated that the decision should not be due to the student being identified as having a significant cognitive disability; in 2008 only two states had this criterion—though several additional states had a similar criteria which stated that the student must not be receiving instruction based on extended or alternate standards (e.g., not eligible to take the AA-AAS).


Discussionn

In July 2008 nine states had participation guidelines for students to qualify to participate in an assessment that the state considered to be an AA-MAS option. None of these states has yet successfully completed the U.S. Department of Education’s peer review process.

Key findings included:

  • Some states’ participation guidelines included flow charts/decision trees or checklists.

  • Most states allowed combination participation (e.g., the student could take different parts of different assessments), though a few states did not allow a student to participate in both the AA-MAS and the AA-AAS.

  • More than half of the states’ guidelines required parent notification of AA-MAS participation decisions.

  • Almost half of the states required consideration of the implications for graduation for students who may participate in an AA-MAS.

  • All states required students to have an IEP to participate in an AA-MAS.

  • At least two-thirds of the states had the following participation criteria: consideration of previous performance on multiple measures, cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations, learning grade-level content, not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP, and not be based on disability category.

  • Decision points were prioritized differently across decision-tree documents used in several states. Differences in the order of the filtering criteria may lead to different decisions regarding which students qualify to participate in an AA-MAS.

    In 2008 many of the states’ participation guidelines used terminology, phrases, and participation criteria that appear to be drawn from the federal regulations; this was a change from 2007 when most of the states had criteria that had been developed prior to the implementation of the regulations.

    This analysis did not attempt to determine the extent to which state policies complied with federal requirements under NCLB or IDEA. Those determinations would need to be made by the appropriate federal authorities. This report is a descriptive analysis of the written policies that states had for the identification of students with disabilities for assessments based on modified academic achievement standards in June 2008. But, it is important to note that Filbin (2008), in an analysis of the initial March 2008 federal peer review of states’ AA-MAS, wrote, "Although none of these States met all of the requirements, each State was able to provide adequate evidence for a number of the elements. However, several specific requirements emerged as problematic across all States" (p. 1). According to Filbin (2008), one of the problematic areas was "State-defined guidelines for eligibility to ensure that the appropriate students are identified" (p. 3). Filbin also indicated that, "Regardless of the group of students that the State chooses to target, the initial challenge for each State will be documenting the learning characteristics of the students eligible to participate in the AA-MAS and using this information as the basis for test development" (pp. 3–4).

    In this report we make no evaluative comments about the various participation guidelines approaches that states have taken. For information about relevant research, refer the NCEO Web site at http://www.nceo.info. We anticipate that the landscape surrounding states’ participation guidelines for AA-MAS will continue to change rapidly. Some of the states probably will revise their participation guidelines in response to peer review. Also, additional states are currently either in the process of—or exploring the possibility of—developing an AA-MAS.


    References

    Filbin, J. (2008). Lessons from the initial peer review of alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards .Washington DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE) Student Achievement and School Accountability Program.

    Lazarus, S. S., Thurlow, M. L., Christensen, L. L., & Cormier, D. (2007). States’ alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) in 2007 (Synthesis Report 67). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

    U. S. Department of Education (2007a, April 9). Final Rule 34 CFR Parts 200 and 300: Title I—Improving the academic achievement of the disadvantaged; Individuals with disabilities education act (IDEA). Federal Register. 72(67), Washington DC: Author. Retrieved August 12, 2008, from the World Wide Web: http://cehd.umn.edu/NCEO/2percentReg/Federal-RegApril9TwoPercent.pdf

    U. S. Department of Education (2007b, December 21). Standards and assessments peer review guidance: information and examples for meeting requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Washington DC: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE). Retrieved from the World Wide Web on August 17, 2008, at http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/saaprguidance.pdf


    Appendix A: Participation Guidelines Characteristics by State

    Table A-1. Format of Participation Guidelines for AA-MAS, April 2008

     

    Criteria

    State

    No. of States

    CA*

    CT

    KS

    LA

    MD

    NC*

    ND

    OK

    TX

    Description of criteria (e.g., text-based elaboration/description)

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    9

    Flow chart/decision tree

    X

    X

    X

    X

    4

    Check list

    X

    X

    X

    3

    *See Table A-2 for additional information.

     

    Table A-2. Descriptions of Participation Guidelines Format

    State

    Additional Information

    California

    Separate criteria for Science.

    Connecticut

    Kansas

    Louisiana

    Maryland

    North Carolina

    In addition to core subject areas, North Carolina also has an NCEXTEND2 Alternate Assessment for Occupational Course of Study (NCEXTEND2 OCS). It is available for the following courses: Occupational English I; Occupational Mathematics I; and Life Skills Science I and II.

    North Dakota

    Oklahoma

    Texas

     

    Table A-3. Combination Participation

    State

    Combination Participation Allowed (No Specification)

    Regular Assessment + AA-MAS + AA-AAS

    Regular Assessment + AA-MAS only

    Specifications and Descriptions

    California

    X

    Students shall not be allowed to take both the CAPA [California Alternate Performance Assessment] and CMA [California Modified Assessment]. Students shall take either: CAPA in all subject areas, CST [California Standards Test] in CMA in all subject areas, or a combination of CST and CMA in the subject areas being assessed.

    Connecticut

    X

    Kansas

    X

    Eligibility must be determined for each content area separately.

    Louisiana

    Maryland

    X

    North Carolina

    X

    The IEP team may determine that a student is to be assessed with modified academic achievement standards (NCEXTEND2) in one or more subjects for which the assessments are administered; If the IEP team determines, based on the eligibility criteria shown below, that the NCEXTEND1 is the most appropriate assessment for a student, then that student must be assessed with the NCEXTEND1 in all subjects assessed at that grade level.

    North Dakota

    X

    Any combination of the above [ND State Assessment with no accommodations; ND State Assessment with assessment accommodations documented in student’s IEP, LEP, or 504 plan; ND Alternate Assessment 1; ND Alternate Assessment 2] allowed in different content areas.

    Oklahoma

    X

    The student qualifies for the portfolio assessment—all subjects tested.

    Texas

    X

    Total

    3

    2

    3

     

    Table A-4. Parent Notification and Graduation Considerations Information Included in Participation Guidelines

    State

    Parent Notification Required

    Implications for Graduation Must be Considered

    Specification/Description

    California

    X

    X

    Parent Notification Required: Parents are informed that their child’s achievement will be measured based on modified achievement standards.

    Implications for Graduation Must be Considered: Not precluded from attempting to complete course requirements, as defined by the State, for a regular high school diploma.

    Connecticut

    X

    X

    Parent Notification Required: Since parents are a part of the IEP team, they must be part of the decision making process. Additionally, they must be fully informed that their child’s progress will be measured based on modified academic achievement standards. This is met through documentation of prior written notice, as well as the IEP page that addresses statewide assessments.

    Implications for Graduation Must be Considered: Students who take the CMT/CAPT (MAS) are not precluded from attempting to complete the requirements for a regular high school diploma.

    Kansas

    Louisiana

    X

    X

    Parent Notification Required and Implications for Graduation Must be Considered: If my child is eligible for and participates in LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 2, my initials indicate I understand the statements below:

    • Testing in LAA 2 means my child is performing below grade level. If my child continues to perform below grade level, it is highly unlikely that he or she will earn a standard high school diploma. I am aware that in order for my child to receive a standard high school diploma, my child must participate in and pass the required components of the Graduation Exit Examination (GEE) and earn the necessary 23 Carnegie Units.

    • The decision for LAA 2 is an IEP team decision based on the needs of the student.

    • If my child participates in LAA 2, he or she will be eligible to receive a Certificate of Achievement. My child may earn Carnegie Units when appropriate.

    • My child is eligible to participate in the Pre-GED/Skills Option Program based on eligibility criteria.

    Maryland

    X

    X

    Parent Notification Required: If the parent does not attend the meeting and sign the form, there should be documentation of parent notification and informed consent for the meeting along with documentation of notification of the decisions of the IEP team.

    Implications for Graduation Must be Considered: Students pursuing the Mod MSA/Mod HAS are not precluded from completing the requirements for the regular high school diploma.

    North Carolina

    X

    Parent Notification Required: Parents of these students, as part of the IEP team and as participants in the IEP process, are to be informed that their child’s achievement will be measured (specific subjects) based on modified academic achievement standards.

    North Dakota

    X

    Parent Notification Required: Parents should be kept informed. The Students with Disabilities and the North Dakota State Assessments parent brochure should be handed out to parents and educators at every student’s annual IEP meeting.

    Oklahoma

    Texas

    Total

    6

    4

     

    Table A-5. AA-MAS Participation Criteria

    Criteria

    State

    No. of States

    CA

    CT

    KS

    LA

    MD

    NC

    ND

    OK

    TX

    Has IEP

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    9

    Learning grade-level content

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X

    X*

    X

    7

    Previous performance on multiple measures

    X

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X

    X*

    7

    Cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations

    X

    X*

    X*

    X

    X*

    X

    6

    Not based on disability category label

    X*

    X*

    X

    X

    X

    X

    6

    Not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP

    X

    X*

    X

    X

    X*

    X

    6

    IEP includes goals based on grade-level content standards

    X

    X*

    X

    X

    X*

    5

    Receives accommodations during classroom instruction

    X*

    X*

    X

    X*

    X*

    5

    Receives specialized/ individualized instruction

    X*

    X

    X*

    X*

    X*

    5

    Not due to excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    4

    Not receiving instruction based on extended or alternate standards or not eligible to take AA-AAS

    X

    X

    X

    X

    4

    Previous performance on state assessment

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    4

    Not based on placement setting

    X

    X

    X

    3

    Does not have a significant cognitive disability

    X

    X

    X

    3

    Performance multiple years behind grade level expectations

    X

    X*

    2

    Other Criteria (See Table A-6 for Specifications)

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    X*

    9

    *See Table A-6 for additional information about these criteria.

     

    Table A-6. Specifications and Descriptions of Participation Criteria

    State

    Specifications and Descriptions

    California

    Not based on disability category label: Not based solely on the student’s disability (i.e., deafness/blindness, visual, auditory and or motor disabilities) but rather the students’ inability to appropriately demonstrate his or her knowledge on the California content standards through the CST.

    Receives specialized/individualized instruction: Grade-level instruction, including special education and related services designed to address the student’s individual needs.

    Not due to excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors: The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on excessive or extended absences; The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on language, culture, or economic influences.

    Previous performance on state assessment: The student shall have taken the California Standards Test (CST) in a previous year and scored Below Basic or Far Below Basic in the subject area being assessed by the CMA and may have taken the CST with modifications. Previous participation in the California Alternate Assessment (CAPA) shall not preclude a student from participation in the CMA. The student shall have taken the CAPA Level 2-5 in two previous years and received a performance level of either Proficient or Advanced.

    Other: The decision to participate in the CMA is not based on the amount of time the student is receiving special education services.

    Connecticut

    Previous performance on multiple measures. The IEP team must look at data from multiple, valid measures of the student’s progress over time. Such examples may include, but are not limited to how a student scored on statewide assessments in the past, as well as district, school, or grade level assessments.

    Cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations: The IEP team should consider whether or not the student may participate in the standard CMT/CAPT with appropriate accommodations, including assistive technology, and has exhausted these options.

    Not based on disability category label: Eligible students may have a disability in any disability category: autism, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, specific learning disability, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, speech and language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment, or other health impairment. Typically, but not always, you may find students in the following categories to be eligible: intellectual disability, autism, traumatic brain injury, or multiple disabilities; the disability category alone does not make a student eligible to take the CMT/CAPT (MAS).

    Connecticut

    (cont.)

    Not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP: IEP team must be reasonably certain that while the student may make significant progress, despite receiving appropriate instruction including special education and related services that are specifically designed to address the student’s individual needs, he/she is not likely to achieve grade level proficiency in the year covered by the IEP; student’s disability precluded him/her from achieving grade-level proficiency at the same rate as his/her non-disabled peers.

    IEP includes goals based on grade-level content standards: The IEP reflects curriculum and daily instruction that focuses on standards based goals in the areas of math, language arts, and/or science, particularly for the area in which the CMT/CAPT (MAS) will be taken. The IEP must reflect access to grade level curriculum. This is particularly true for students placed in private special education schools/facilities, residential, hospital or homebound placements; the IEP reflects how the student’s progress in achieving standards based goals is to be documented and monitored.

    Receives accommodations during classroom instruction: Student receives classroom accommodations that have also been used during state/district assessment.

    Not due to excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors: Is the student’s difficulty with regular curriculum demands primarily due to his/her disability and not due to excessive absences unrelated to the disability, or social, cultural, environmental, or economic factors?; students who are solely on a 504 plan, or who are English Language Learners (ELL) and are not on an IEP, are not eligible.

    Other: Student receives classroom modifications; students placed in private special education schools/facilities, residential, hospital, or homebound placements are eligible to take the CMT/CAPT (MAS) based on the decision of the IEP team, if the student’s IEP includes goals based on Connecticut’s academic standards, also known as standards-based IEP.

    Kansas

    Cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations: Accommodations alone [on classroom assessments] do not allow the student to fully demonstrate knowledge.

    Receives specialized/individualized instruction. Intensive individualized instruction; needs significant changes in the complexity and scope of the general standards to show progress in the curriculum; requires intensive specially designed instruction and requires intensive individualized supports and requires extensive instruction.

    Not due to excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors: The decision to determine a student’s eligibility to participate in the KAMM may NOT RESULT PRIMARILY from: excessive or extended absence, any specific categorical label nor social, cultural, or economic differences.

    Other: Needs significant changes in the complexity and scope of the general standards to show progress in the curriculum; despite the provision of research based interventions, the student is not progressing at the rate expected for grade level; needs supports to significantly reduce the complexity or breadth of classroom assessment items; requires differentiated content for classroom assessment and needs to show what they know differently and accommodations alone do not allow the student to fully demonstrate knowledge.

    Louisiana

    Receives accommodations during classroom instruction: The Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to provide the student with accommodations and modifications to ensure the student progresses towards meeting his or her IEP goals and objectives related to the general education curriculum.

    Previous performance on state assessment: Scored at the Unsatisfactory level in English language arts and/or mathematics on the previous year’s LEAP/iLEAP/GEE or participated in LAA1 or LAA2.

    Performance multiple years behind grade level expectations: Student’s IEP reflects a functioning grade level in English language arts (including reading) at least three (3) grade levels below the actual grade level in which he or she is enrolled.

    Other: The student’s program is predominantly academic in nature, and may include application of academic content across environments to ensure generalization of skills; Decision to test student in LAA2 may not be determined administratively.

    Maryland

    Previous performance on multiple measures: The student must demonstrate that he/she cannot attain proficiency on the actual grade level MSA (each of the subjects of the HSA series), even with the provision of accommodations based on documented multiple valid and objective measures of student’s progress (or lack of progress). Examples include the State assessments, district wide assessments, data gathered from classroom assessments, and other formative assessments that can validate documented academic achievement in response to appropriate instruction. There must be enough time to document the progress (or lack of progress) in response to appropriate instruction.

    Receives specialized/individualized instruction: Student has had consecutive years of individualized intensive academic instruction intervention in Reading and/or Mathematics and/or Science consistent with his/her IEP, and although progress toward grade level standards was made, he/she is not yet making progress at grade level.

    Previous performance on state assessment: For Mod-HSA, IEP Decision-making Process Eligibility Tool asks for documentation of MSA and HSA performance.

    Other: Student requires and receives modified academic achievement standards aligned with the Maryland Academic Content Standards for the student’s grade-level during assessments and instruction. In addition, specific accommodations implemented in these instructional and assessment settings may include: test items are less complex, fewer and shorter reading passages, shorter or less difficult; student has been provided with supplementary aids and services that are necessary for the student to advance towards attaining his/her annual goals, to be involved and make progress in the general curriculum.

    North Carolina

    Previous performance on multiple measures: Student’s disability has precluded the student from achieving grade-level proficiency as demonstrated by objective evidence (e.g., results from standardized state tests, IQ tests, achievement tests, aptitude tests, and psychological evaluations). It is the expectation that more than one objective measures would be used to assist in the evaluation of a student’s placement; Grade 3 students whose IEP teams feel that NCEXTEND2 is the appropriate assessment for the spring end of grade testing should participate in the general administration of the Pretest—Grade 3.

    Other: Eligibility criteria for the NCEXTEND2 OCS (Occupational Mathematics I, Occupational English I (reading), Life Skills Science I and II, and the OCS writing assessment at Grade 10) the eligibility criteria indicate that the student’s IEP include goals that are based on course content standards and provide for monitoring of student’s progress in achieving goals; and for the NCEXTEND2 OCS in writing, the student is assigned to grade 10 according to the student information management system (e.g., SIMS/NC WISE) and is following the Occupational Course of Study (OCS); the student DOES NOT have a current 504 plan; the student, if identified as limited English proficient (LEP), must also have a current IEP; the nature of the student’s disability may require assessments that are different in design.

    North Dakota

    Previous performance on multiple measures: Other data that supports the need for "modified achievement standards" such as performance on achievement tests, classroom tests, and other pertinent information.

    Cannot demonstrate knowledge on regular assessment even with provision of accommodations: The student’s curriculum is so individualized that the NDSA (even with accommodations) will not reflect what the student is being taught.

    Not progressing at rate expected to reach grade level proficiency within school year covered by IEP: Has persistent learning difficulties prohibiting him/her from making grade-level achievement in one year.

    IEP includes goals based on grade-level content standards: It is recommended that students that participate in the NDAA2 have standards based IEPs (at the appropriate level) that allow the IEP team to work on academic standards prior to assessment.

    Receives specialized/individualized instruction: The students’ curriculum is so individualized that the general assessment will not reflect what the student is being taught (even with accommodations).

    Other: If student receives instruction mainly in the general education curriculum, IEP team is encouraged to consider placing student in regular assessment; if student requires accommodations in order to successfully access the general education curriculum and/or daily assessment IEP team is encouraged to consider placing student in regular assessment with accommodations; the student’s cognitive ability and adaptive behavior do not prevent completion of all or part of the general education curriculum; if the IEP team is not sure that the student meets all of the criteria, but is sure that both NDAA 1 and the NDSA (e.g., the AA-AAS and the regular assessment) are not appropriate for the student, then the IEP team must make the decision on which option is best for the student by using their best professional judgment.

    Oklahoma

    Learning grade level content: IEP reflects curriculum and daily instruction that focus on modified goals and objectives (modified achievement standards) that are on grade level.

    Receives accommodations during classroom instruction: The Local Education Agency (LEA) is required to provide the student with accommodations and modifications to ensure the student progresses towards meeting his or her IEP goals and short-term objectives related to the general education curriculum.

    Not due to excessive absences, social, cultural, language, economic, or environmental factors: Not due to excessive absences unrelated to the disability, or social, cultural, environmental, or economics factors.

    Previous performance on state assessment: The student scored at the Unsatisfactory Level on the previous year’s Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT). When OCCT scores from previous years are not available (e.g., Grade 3), the IEP team may substitute scores equivalent to unsatisfactory from local assessments to identify student.

    Other: Student’s disability results in substantial academic difficulties; decision shall not be based on the amount of time the student receives services in special education.

    Texas

    Previous performance on multiple measures. May include, but are not limited to, state-developed assessments, informal and formal classroom assessments, norm-referenced tests, and criterion-referenced tests.

    Receives accommodations during classroom instruction: Every student should have an IEP that reflects access to grade-level TEKS, including documentation of the modifications and/or accommodations that the student needs during classroom instruction and assessment. Modifications are practices and procedures that change the nature of the task or target skill while accommodations are intended to reduce or even eliminate the effects of a student’s disability but do not reduce learning expectations.

    Other: Requires an alternate form of TAKS which is more closely aligned with instructional modifications in order to demonstrate knowledge of the grade-level TEKS; the student routinely receives modifications to the grade-level curriculum that more closely resemble those offered on TAK-M. This may include, but is not limited to, reduced number of items, and answer choices or simpler vocabulary and sentence structure; meets some but not all of the participation criteria of TAKS-Alternate (e.g., the AA-AAS in Texas); an example of a students who meets some but not all of the participation criteria for TAKS-ALT may include but is not limited to the following: a student may require supports to access the general curriculum and/or require direct, intensive, individualized instruction over a period of time to ensure that he or she learns and retains grade-level content; Not determined administratively, but rather by ARD committee.


    Appendix B: State Documents Used in Analysis

    State documents used in the analysis of states’ criteria for participation in an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards are listed below. These documents were downloaded from state Web sites in June 2008.

    State

    Documents

    California

    California Department of Education (November 16, 2007). CMA participation criteria and definition of terms. Sacramento, California. Retrieved from: http://www.cde.ca.govta/tg/sr/participcriteria.asp

    California Department of Education (February 25, 2008). CMA participation criteria for science. Retrieved from: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/sr/participcrisci.asp

    Connecticut

    Connecticut Department of Education. (April 10, 2008). Connecticut’s CMT/CAPT based on Modified Achievement Standards (MAS) Participation for students with disabilities IEP team guidance – Preliminary. Hartford, Connecticut: author. Retrieved from: http://www.csde.state.ct.us/public/cedar/assessment/mas/resources/EligCrit.pdf

    Kansas

    Kansas Department of Education. (August 23, 2006). KAMM eligibility criteria. Topeka, Kansas: author. Retrieved from: http://www.kansped.org/ksde/assmts/kamm/Eligibility.pdf

    Kansas Department of Education. (August 23, 2006). Statewide assessments: Participation for students with disabilities—IEP team decision flowchart. Topeka, Kansas: author. Retrieved from: http://www.kansped.org/ksde/assmts/kamm/Eligibility.pdf

    Louisiana

    Louisiana Department of Education. (October 17, 2006). LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 2 (LAA 2) participation criteria for grades 4-11. Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Author. Retrieved from: http://doe.louisiana.gov/lde/saa/2221.html

    Maryland

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Criteria for identifying students with disabilities for participation in a Mod-MSA. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17109/CriteriaforIdentifyingStudentswithDisabilitiesforP.pdf

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Criteria for identifying students with disabilities for participation in a Mod-HSA. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17109/CriteriaforIdentifyingStudentswithDisabilitiesforP.pdf

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Mod-MSA: Appendix A: IEP team decision-making process eligibility tool. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17114/ModMSAAppendixAIEPTeamDecisionMakingProcessEligibi.pdf

    Maryland

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Criteria for identifying students with disabilities for participation in a Mod-MSA. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17109/CriteriaforIdentifyingStudentswithDisabilitiesforP.pdf

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Criteria for identifying students with disabilities for participation in a Mod-HSA. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17109/CriteriaforIdentifyingStudentswithDisabilitiesforP.pdf

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Mod-MSA: Appendix A: IEP team decision-making process eligibility tool. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17114/ModMSAAppendixAIEPTeamDecisionMakingProcessEligibi.pdf

    Maryland Department of Education. (June 17, 2008). Mod-MSA: Appendix B: IEP team decision-making process eligibility tool. Baltimore, Maryland: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/NR/rdonlyres/DB0483F2-76AC-40BA-A702-E1CF92BE3B1D/17116/ModHSAAppendixBIEPTeamDecisionMakingProcessEligibi.pdf

    North Carolina

    North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. (April 2008). North Carolina testing program: Supplement (Section E: Alternate Assessments and Section F: Appendix. Raleigh, NC: Division of Accountability. Retrieved from: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/docs/accountability/policyoperations/0708tswdsupplement.pdf

    North Dakota

    North Dakota Department of Education. (September 18, 2007). Comparison of NDAA-1 and NDAA-2. Bismarck, North Dakota: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/speced/resource/alternate/comparison.pdf

    North Dakota Department of Education. (March 24, 2008). Assessment flowchart for IEP decisions. Bismarck, North Dakota: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/speced/resource/alternate/IEPflowchart.pdf

    North Dakota Department of Education. (September, 2007). Students with disabilities and the North Dakota state assessments: Information for parents and educators. Bismarck, North Dakota: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.dpi.state.nd.us/speced/resource/alternate/brochure.pdf

    Oklahoma

    Oklahoma Department of Education. (2006). Criteria checklist for assessing students with disabilities on state assessments. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.sde.state.ok.us/AcctAssess/pdf/OMAAP/Criteria_Check.pdf

    Texas

    Texas Education Agency. (August 24, 2007). Texas assessment of knowledge and skills-modified (TAKS-M): Participation requirements for TAKS-M. Austin, Texas: Author. Retrieved from: http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/taksm/TAKS_M_Participation_requirements.pdf

    Texas Education Agency. (August 24, 2007). Texas assessment of knowledge and skills-modified (TAKS-M): Descriptors for the participation requirements for TAKS-M. Austin, Texas: Author. http://www.tea.state.tx.us/student.assessment/resources/taksm/TAKS_M_part_requir_with_descriptors.pdf

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