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Iowa's Alternate Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

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Eligibility Guidelines

The criteria for participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments reflect the pervasive nature of a significant cognitive disability. IEP teams must select the alternate assessment as the only option for all subject content areas assessed. Students who participate in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments will not participate in Iowa Assessments. Participation guidelines are programmed into the State Web IEP.

The following are not allowable (or acceptable) considerations for determining participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments.

  1. A disability category or label
  2. Poor attendance or extended absences
  3. Native language/social/cultural or economic difference
  4. Expected poor performance on the general education assessment
  5. Academic and other services student receives
  6. Educational environment or instructional setting
  7. Percent of time receiving special education
  8. English Language Learner (ELL) status
  9. Low reading level/achievement level
  10. Anticipated student’s disruptive behavior
  11. Impact of student scores on accountability system
  12. Administrator decision
  13. Anticipated emotional duress
  14. Need for accommodations (e.g., assistive technology/AAC) to participate in assessment process

The student is eligible to participate in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments if all responses below are marked Yes.

Participation Criterion Participation Criterion Descriptors Agree (Yes) or Disagree (No)? Provide documentation for each
1. The student has a significant cognitive disability.

Review of student records indicate a disability or multiple disabilities that significantly impact intellectual functioning and adaptive behavior*.

*Adaptive behavior is defined as essential for someone to live independently and to function safely in daily life.

Yes or No
2. The student receives instruction on the Iowa Core Essential Elements which are aligned to the Iowa Core Standards but are of reduced breadth, depth, and complexity. Goals and instruction listed in the IEP for this student are linked to the enrolled grade level Iowa Core Essential Elements and address knowledge and skills that are appropriate and challenging for this student. Yes or No
3. The student requires extensive direct individualized instruction and substantial supports to achieve measurable gains in the grade-and age-appropriate curriculum. The student
  1. requires extensive, repeated, individualized instruction and support that is not of a temporary or transient nature and
  2. uses substantially adapted materials and individualized methods of accessing information in alternative ways to acquire, maintain, generalize, demonstrate and transfer skills across multiple settings.
Yes or No

Iowa Core English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science Essential Elements

Iowa Core Essential Elements Brochure

Overview and Background of the Iowa Core English Language Arts & Mathematics Essential Elements

With the adoption of the Iowa Core, Iowa was required to develop a new Alternate Assessment aligned to the Iowa Core. In this effort, Iowa joined Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM), an 18 state member consortium. The DLM assessment consortium is guided by the core belief that all students should have access to challenging grade-level content which is reflected in the Iowa Core Essential Elements. The Iowa Core English Language Arts and Mathematics Essential Elements for students with significant cognitive disabilities were developed and reviewed at each grade level Kindergarten through 12th grade in the areas of English Language Arts and Math by Iowa teachers (both general and special education) and other individuals with expertise in instruction for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Iowa Core Essential Elements are not a redefinition of the Iowa Core Standards. They are specific statements of knowledge and skills linked to grade-level Iowa Core Standards and are intended to describe challenging expectations for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The purpose of the Iowa Core Essential Elements is to build a bridge from the content in the Iowa Core Standards to expectations for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

The Iowa Core Essential Elements satisfy the requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that Iowa have alternate achievement standards for its students with significant cognitive disabilities that reflect high expectations, are clearly linked to grade-level academic content standards that yield student achievement and prepare our students with significant cognitive disabilities for college & career readiness.

Iowa Core Essential Elements - Mathematics for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Iowa Core Essential Elements - English Language Arts for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Overview and Background of the Iowa Core Science Essential Elements

The Iowa Core Science Essential Elements are specific knowledge and skills linked to the grade-level or grade band span expectations identified in the Iowa Core Science Standards aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and represent the most frequently assessed alternate standards in the DLM Science states identified in the 2012 Framework for Science Education. Grades 5 and 11 Science Essential Elements are grade linked and Grade 8

Science Essential Elements are grades 6-8 grade banded. As such, this set of Essential Elements addresses a small number of science standards, representing a breadth, but not depth, of coverage across the entire standards framework. The purpose of the Iowa Core Science Essential Elements is to build a bridge from the content in the general education science framework to academic expectations for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. This version of the Essential Elements will provide content for science assessments for at least the next two years. The DLM Science Consortium intends to develop a learning map based on research about how students learn science content and engage in scientific and engineering practices in the next phase of the project. Revisions will be made when the science map is complete, at which time we anticipate the Essential Elements will be aligned to the map with revisions and additions as appropriate. This will occur no sooner than Spring 2018 and perhaps more likely for Spring 2019.

The State of Iowa and the DLM Alternate Assessment Consortium are guided by the core belief that all students should have access to challenging grade-level Iowa Core Standards.  For additional information regarding the Iowa Core Essential Elements click on the links below:

Iowa Core Essential Elements for Science

 

Area Education Agency/Urban Education Network Significant Disabilities Coordinators

Area Education Agency (AEA) and Urban Education Network (UEN) Significant Disabilities Coordinators provide technical assistance and support in implementation of the Iowa Core Essential Elements and Iowa’s Alternate Assessments.

Area Education Agency Significant Disabilities Coordinators

AEA Name Email Address
Keystone AEA 1 Anne Faber afaber@aea1.k12.ia.us
AEA 267 Lisa Jellum ljellum@aea267.k12.ia.us
Prairie Lakes AEA 8 Kris Taphorn ktaphorn@aea8.k12.ia.us
Mississippi Bend AEA 9 Jennifer Hawley jhawley@mbaea.org
Grant Wood AEA 10 Tina Hoffman thoffman@gwaea.org
Heartland AEA 11 Marty Ikeda mikeda@heartlandaea.org
Northwest AEA 12 Cindy Baird cbaird@nwaea.org
Green Hills AEA Ron Russell rrussell@ghaea.org
Great Prairie AEA 15 Alan Schwarte alan.schwarte@gpaea.org

Urban Education Network Significant Disabilities Coordinators

District Name Email Address
Cedar Rapids CSD Rosemary Hays rhays@cr.k12.ia.us
Council Bluffs CSD Becky Zorn bzorn@cbcsd.org
Davenport CSD Amy Clayton claytona@davenportschools.org
Des Moines CSD Erin Elscott erin.elscott@dmschools.org‎
Des Moines CSD Lisa Wiese lisa.wiese@dmschools.org‎
Des Moines CSD Alyson Finley alyson.finley@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Laurel Friedman laurel.friedman@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Aimee Rhode  aimee.rhode@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Gwen Weiglet gwen.weiglet@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Robert Van Dorin robert.vandorin@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Nichole Heidemann nichole.heidemann@dmschools.org
Dubuque CSD Lori Anderson loanderson@dbqschools.org
Iowa City CSD Kimberly Lanaghan kimberly.lanaghan@iowacityschools.org
Sioux City CSD Jennifer Denne dennej@live.siouxcityschools.com
Waterloo CSD Susie Lund lunds@waterlooschools.org
Waterloo CSD Larry Martin martinl@waterlooschools.org

Click on the link below to access the State of Iowa’s DLM Webpage that contains assessment supports and materials for Iowa District Alternate Assessment Coordinators, District Data Stewards, Technology Liaisons and Test Administrators  http://dynamiclearningmaps.org/iowa

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, & Science AYP Alternate Assessment 1%

The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessments is the State of Iowa's AYP Alternate Assessment and promote fair measurement of student knowledge of the Iowa Core English Language Arts, Mathematics, & DLM Science Essential Elements.  The DLM Alternate Assessments are for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities whose academic performance is appropriately judged against alternate achievement standards.

Content areas and grades are:

  • ELA: Grades 3-8, 10 and 11
  • Math: Grades 3-8, 10 and 11
  • Science: Grades 5, 8 and 11

The DLM ELA and Mathematics Alternate Assessments are year-long instructionally embedded assessments that includes a year-end summative assessment.

The DLM Science Alternate Assessments is a year-end assessment.  All DLM Assessments integrate student assistive technology.

Click on the link to learn more about Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment: http://dynamiclearningmaps.org/

Click on the link below to access the State of Iowa’s DLM Webpage that contains assessment supports and materials for Iowa District Alternate Assessment Coordinators, District Data Stewards, Technology Liaisons and Test Administrators:  http://dynamiclearningmaps.org/iowa

 

Legal Requirements

The Alternate Assessment is a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

 

Exemption Policy

Every student is to be tested, even those who receive homebound services or attend a shortened school day. District Assessment Coordinators should contact Emily Thatcher, IDOE Alternate Assessment Consultant at emily.thatcher@iowa.gov for guidance on assessment requirements for students who are receiving homebound services or attend shortened school day.

The DLM ELA & Math AYP Alternate Assessments and the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-3 Literacy Alternate Assessment - Iowa are yearlong assessment, so to say, “we need to exclude this student from the testing window” means the student is being excluded from participation in the Iowa Core, which is documented as non-compliance and illegal.  The DLM Science alternate assessment is a year-end assessment that measures student outcomes of yearlong science instruction.

There is no opt out option for assessment participation.  The only decision an IEP team can make is which type of assessment the student will participate - either the general assessment or the alternate assessment.

 

State of Iowa's DLM Test Blueprints for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science

English Language Arts

Mathematics

Science

 

State of Iowa's DLM Student Record for English Language Arts and Mathematics

Enlgish Language Arts

Mathematics

 

State of Iowa's DLM Timelines and Requirements for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science

State of Iowa's DLM Timelines and Requirement

 

DLM Assessment Process Calendars

District Point of Contacts Calendar 2015-2016

Test Administrator Calendar 2015-2016

 

DLM Parent's Brochures

 

Iowa's Alternate Assessments (AYP) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 2015-2016

AYP FAQ 2015-2016

 

Iowa's Early Literacy Alternate Assessment

Introduction DLM Aligned K-3 Literacy Alternate Assessment

Scoring Guide DLM Aligned K-3 Literacy Alternate Assessment

Early Literacy Alternate Assessment Flow Chart of Options

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on August 31, 2015 at 5:31am.