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Iowa's Alternate Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that all students, even those with the most significant cognitive disabilities, have access to the general education curriculum. The Iowa Alternate Assessments are for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities whose academic performance is appropriately judged against alternate achievement standards. They promote fair measure of student knowledge of the Iowa Core English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science Essential Elements.

Iowa uses two assessments to measure the achievement of students that participate in the alternate assessments. The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Assessments for ELA and math are yearlong instructionally embedded assessments and assess English Language Arts (ELA), and mathematics in grades 3-11. Science is a year-end assessment for grades 5, 8 and 10 with assessments available during the fall as well as the required spring assessment. The Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (EL AA) will be used to meet the Early Literacy screening and progress monitoring requirements. This assessment has been state-approved for children with significant cognitive disabilities.

Eligibility Guidelines

Iowa's Participation Guidelines - The criteria for participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments for both the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) and the State of Iowa's Early Literacy Alternate Assessment - the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment, 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 IowaIDEA-Web IEP application.

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 Jennifer Denne, IDE Alternate Assessment Consultant at jennifer.denne@iowa.gov for guidance on assessment requirements for students who are receiving homebound services or attend shortened school day.

The DLM ELA and Math Alternate Assessments and the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 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.

AEA and UEN Support

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 Laura Smith lsmith@aea1.k12.ia.us
Central Rivers AEA 267 Rochelle Richards rrichards@centralriversaea.org
Prairie Lakes AEA 8 Tiffanie Zaugg tzaugg@plaea.org
Mississippi Bend AEA 9 Patrick Judkins pjudkins@aea9.k12.ia.us
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 Angelisa Braaksma Fynaardt angelisa.fynaardt@gpaea.org

Urban Education Network Significant Disabilities Coordinators

District Name Email Address
Cedar Rapids CSD Anne Faber afaber@crschools.us
Council Bluffs CSD Glenn Fortmeyer gfortmeyer@cbcsd.org
Davenport CSD Amy Clayton claytona@davenportschools.org
Des Moines CSD Renee Burnham renee.burnham@dmschools.org‎
Des Moines CSD Lisa Wiese lisa.wiese@dmschools.org‎
Des Moines CSD Laurel Friedman laurel.friedman@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Kaniesha Pettaway kaniesha.pettaway@dmschools.org
Des Moines CSD Robert Van Dorin robert.vandorin@dmschools.org
Dubuque CSD Lori Anderson loanderson@dbqschools.org
Iowa City CSD Jay Beaver beaver.jay@iowacityschools.org
Sioux City CSD Kim Neal nealk@live.siouxcityschools.com
Waterloo CSD Jessica Stakey stakeyj@waterlooschools.org

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM)

DLM assessments are computer-based and serve the small proportion of the student population (1%) with significant cognitive disabilities for whom general state assessments are not appropriate, even with accommodations. DLM assessments offer these students in grades three (3) through eleven (11) a way to show what they know and can do.

Learn more about DLM Alternate Assessments.

Iowa’s DLM webpage contains assessment supports and materials for Iowa District Alternate Assessment Coordinators, District Data Stewards, Technology Liaisons and Test Administrators.

Dynamic Learning Maps FAQ 2018-2019 - This document provides answers to frequently asked questions of Policy and Guidance and components of the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment.

DLM Assessment Windows for 2019-2020

The DLM Assessment is an instructionally embedded assessment that includes fall and spring assessment windows. Each window includes two (2) phases.

Fall

  • Phase 1: September 9, 2019 to November 1, 2019
  • Phase 2: November 4, 2019 to December 20, 2019

Spring

  • Phase 1: Feb. 3 to March 20, 2020
  • Phase 2: March 23 to May 15, 2020

Iowa's K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment

The DLM Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (EL AA) is intended to provide a developmentally appropriate, naturalistic approach to progress monitoring beginning in the fall of kindergarten and extending through the end of sixth grade. The assessment is designed to provide schools with the alternate assessment they need to include students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to meet the universal screening and progress monitoring requirements.

Early Literacy Alternate Assessment Flow Chart of Options - Provides initial guidance for IEP teams in the determining participation in the in the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment.

State of Iowa’s eligibility guidelines for participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments (2015-15-12). - Individual Education Program (IEP) teams are required to use this document for student participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments. This document is programmed within the IowaIDEA-Web IEP application.

The Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment FAQ - provides answers to frequently asked questions of Policy and Guidance and components of the Assessment.

K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment Timeline for 2019-2020

The K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment has three (3) assessment windows.

  • Fall Instructional/Weekly Artifact Collection Window: Sept. 3 - Oct. 4, 2019
    Fall Reporting Window: Sept. 23 - Oct. 4, 2019
  • Winter Instructional/Weekly Artifact Collection Window: Oct. 7, 2019 - Feb. 7, 2020
    Winter Reporting Window: Jan. 24 - Feb. 7, 2020
  • Spring Instructional/Weekly Artifact Collection Window: Feb. 10 - May 29, 2020
    Spring Reporting Window: May 11 - 29, 2020

Join Our Community

The Iowa Department of Education hosts a Google Site specifically for educators and administrators that work directly with Iowa's Alternate Assessments, including DLM Instructional Resources and Test Blueprints, and the DLM Aligned K-6 Early Literacy Alternate Assessment Manual. If you are interested in joining our community, contact Kelly Hart at kelly.hart@iowa.gov.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on August 09, 2020 at 6:42am.