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Multi-State GSEG Toward a Defensible AA-MAS

General Supervision Enhancement Grants (GSEGs) are awarded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education to improve the capacity of states to accurately report on the performance and participation of children with disabilities on the state's assessments.

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) joined with five states (Alabama, Hawaii, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin) to form a consortium whose members share a common interest in investigating the characteristics of students who may qualify for an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). This project aims to develop high-quality assessment and instructional systems that improve not only the accountability system, but also the learning of those students whose disability has precluded them from achieving grade-level proficiency and whose progress is such that they are not likely to reach grade-level proficiency in the same time frame as other students.

The five states partnered for separate but related investigations. The states came together because of common needs and interests. They believe that collaborative thinking and the investigation of multiple options to find instructional and assessment solutions to find instructional and assessment solutions that maintain high learning expectations for students who may qualify for the AA-MAS.

All five states investigated the characteristics of persistently low performing students who might potentially be candidates for AA-MAS. Several states, including South Dakota and Wisconsin, also conducted focus group or stakeholder meetings to learn more about the characteristics of the students. Alabama, South Dakota, and Tennessee explored how accommodations practices may affect student participation in instruction and assessment. Hawaii developed and validated learning progressions. Alabama and South Dakota examined how to provide professional development on standards-based Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin examined the nature of the instruction received by students who may qualify for the AA-MAS.