- Accountability and Testing of students in various situations
- 1% Participation Rule
- English Language Learners
- Visually Impaired Students
- Communication with Parents
- Test Administration
- Test Participation
- Scoring and Reporting
- Virtual School Testing
- Wisconsin Essential Elements
- Assessment Related COVID-19 FAQs
A. Yes. Test participation is based on the number of students enrolled, regardless of FAY status. Open enrollment students are treated exactly the same as all other district students for the purpose of reporting.
A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.
Test security needs to be carefully considered when dealing with homebound or hospitalized students. Be sure that the person who is administering the assessment at the home of the student or at hospital is a licensed district staff member who has been trained in test administration.
A. A significant medical emergency is a significant health impairment that renders the student incapable of participating in any academic activities, including state assessments, for the entire testing window. Districts should maintain documentation of the circumstance within their district. The student will be excluded from test participation and achievement-based accountability calculations.
A. Virtual schools are responsible for testing all students enrolled in grades 3-11. This may be done in the district, or with district staff at other arranged sites. Other districts should not test students who live in their attendance area and attend a virtual school in another district.
A. No. Your district may not test private school students.
A. No. Public Schools do not have the authority to administer the DLM to home-schooled students, including those enrolled in their district for two or fewer classes per day.
NOTE: Testing is something in life everyone must do in some form or another, whether it be a college exam, CPR training, or a professional certification exam. The child's attitude and the attitude of those around the child will determine a great deal about how they may perform on the test that day. Encouraging a child to do their best to show their knowledge and skill will aid them in doing well and forming good testing habits as they grow into adults.
A. A parent must submit a written request for student opt-out to the principal or the school board. Per Wis. Stats. 118.30(2)(b)3., if the student is in grades 4, 8, and 9-11 the request must be granted. However, if the student is not in the above mentioned grade levels, the decision to grant the request is at the discretion of the school board.
A. No. The DLM cannot be administered out of state. If the student is still enrolled in the district/school, the student counts as not tested for reporting purposes.
A. No. The student is likely being instructed on standards different from Wisconsin. The student does not need to be included in the count of students enrolled in the district if the placement is out-of-state.
A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations.The district should work with the facility to complete testing; however, it is not the facility’s responsibility to test the student. If the student is not tested by the district, the student counts as not tested for reporting purposes.
A. See the policy document regarding student in special/unique situations. The district should work with the RCC to complete testing; however, it is not the facility’s responsibility to test the student. If the student is not tested by the district, the student counts as a not tested for reporting purposes.
- For fall test administrations prior to and including 2014-15, an FAY student is one who had been continuously enrolled in a school or district for 9.25 months, not including time that the student was not in school during the summer.
ESSA requires Academic Achievement calculations to be based upon the greater of 95% of students enrolled for the full academic year or the actual number of students tested. Hence, schools that have student groups with lower than a 95% test participation rate are penalized. Wisconsin’s ESSA system applies this requirement by adjusting the denominator of the points-based proficiency rate calculation to the 95% tested level for schools testing below the required 95% rate. For example, if a middle school serving students in grades 6-8 had 100 full academic year students, but only 90 of these students participated in state assessments, the schools points-based proficiency rate is calculated by dividing the number of points by 95 (minimum participation required by ESSA) rather than 90 (the actual number of students tested). This results in a lowered achievement score for that school.
DPI publishes school and district test participation on school and district report cards for informational purposes only. That is, test participation has no impact on report card scoring. This rule has been effective since the 2016-17 report cards. Please note that a minimum two years of 20 full academic year tested students are required to generate a report card score.
A. Beginning in fall 2017 the Every Student Succeeds Act, limits the number of students who may take an alternate assessment to no more than 1.0 percent of the total number of all students in the State who are assessed in a given subject (i.e., reading/language arts, mathematics, and science) in an assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards. While these changes are specific at the state level, it requires the State to monitor district participation so as to not exceed the 1.0 threshold. All eligible students should participate in the DLM. Eligibility is determined by the IEP team using the Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessment. Districts may be required to provide documentation if they exceed the 1.0% threshold, DPI will contact the district to determine if circumstances warrant a district response.
A. DPI may request that the district complete a justification with appropriate assurances and documentation if the number of students exceeds the 1% threshold. DPI will contact the district to determine if circumstances warrant a district waiver. The decision to participate in the DLM is made using the Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessment rather than the student's impact on district accountability calculations.
A. The DLM Accessibility Manual is also a good resource for information on allowable supports. This document provides some reminders about allowable supports and materials used to deliver assessments. It also provides examples of how students with different response modes can indicate their answers to computer-based testlets.
A. Information on the accessibility features can be found in the DLM Accessibility Manual. DLM accessibility features should be documented on the student’s IEP Form I-7 DLM. Category 1 features should be documented under Section A, while Category 2 and 3 features should be documented under Section B on the IEP form.
A. If a student cannot respond orally, it is likely that the student has assistive communication strategies and devices that he or she is already using. These assistive communication strategies and devices should be used to allow the student to express his or her answers. In the given example, the test administrator should practice with the student before actually administering the test on how the student will indicate a chosen answer. The additional instruction of “squeeze my hand when I touch the correct answer choice” can be added without changing what is being tested.
A. No. DPI trusts that test administrators know each student’s response style and will document answers accordingly.
A. Yes. DPI has created DLM Assessment Information for Families which gives information about the test.
A. DPI has created has developed a Parent Brochure that explains the standards.
A. Yes, unless exceptions are noted on the Testlet information Pages (TIPs). Test Administrators are able to translate the text for the students, simplify test instructions, translate words on demand, provide synonyms and /or definitions (when permissible) and accept responses in either English or the student’s native language for Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science (in applicable grades). When deciding which disability related accommodations should be provided on the DLM, refer to the student's IEP.
A. No. DPI will not provide translators for the DLM test; district appointed local interpreters should be used as necessary. Guidelines for the use of translators and interpreters are posted on the ELL page of the OEA website.
A. Yes, all students enrolled at the time of testing must be assessed. English language learners (ELLs) with limited English proficiency (ACCESS level 1 or 2) who are new to country (less than 12 calendar months) are permitted a one-time exemption to the English language arts test. If the student does not participate in the ELA assessment, he or she must participate in Alternate ACCESS for ELLs®. Recently arrived students must also participate in all other content areas, with or without accommodations. Students in district for less than a full academic year (FAY) are counted for test participation only; their assessment results are not factored into school or district report cards.
A. Uncontracted Braille testlets are available through DLM, test administrators should not braille DLM forms for their students. Because the testlets are determined dynamically, fixed form Braille versions are not possible. Assignment to uncontracted Braille forms requires the Test Administrator to select Braille support on the PNP (P) Access Profile). All Braille forms are delivered in BRF format through Educator Portal. Districts will be required to emboss all testlets. Testlets are assigned to the student by the KITE system, the same way that non-Braille testlets are assigned. As each testlet is assigned to the student, the teacher or assessment coordinator embosses the testlet. For further information regarding blind and visual impairments contact the Special Education Team at (608) 266-1781.
A. The test administrator may use an interactive whiteboard or projector, or a magnification device that works with the computer screen.
A. An interpreter is allowed to sign all content and items to a student if this accommodation is identified in the student’s IEP since sign is not provided via the computer. For students who sign, test administrators may sign the contents to the student using ASL, Exact English, or personalized sign systems. Items and questions should be interpreted as closely as possible without changing the construct of the questions. For further information regarding deaf or hard of hearing impairment contact the Special Education Team at (608) 266-1781.
A. The test administrator may sign the test, spelling unfamiliar words and adapting or interpreting the language as needed based on the signs the student is familiar with.
A. No. The use of manipulatives is allowed for all students taking the DLM as part of the standard administration. Test administrators should ensure that the manipulatives are already used in the student’s classroom instruction and the student is familiar with them so test administrators are not introducing something new in the middle of testing.
A. No. It is important that the objects be easily available and familiar to the student. The Testlet Information Page includes information which describes the general properties of the objects that are needed. Objects that are not on the list may be substituted as long as they meet the general requirement for that Essential Element. The use of manipulatives is dependent upon individual student needs and should be consistent with materials used instructionally. The provision of manipulatives is a district responsibility.
A. Testlets sometimes call for the use of materials or manipulatives. Suggested materials are included in the Testlet Information Page (TIP) for each testlet. To gather materials ahead of time that are likely to be used in a student’s assessment, please see the materials collections lists on your Educator Resource Page.
In a few testlets, some materials are required and cannot be substituted, but in most testlets substitutes are allowed. For more information about substituting objects, see the Test Administration Manual, section titled Teacher-Administered Tests. When substituting materials, remember to change the words in the question (including the answer choices) to match the substituted item.
A. Yes, all test administrators must complete the required test administration training modules through the Moodle website. The Guide to DLM Required Test Administrator Training (pdf) is a great place to start for all users, especially for those with their first log in. Returning users must complete a refresher training course taking approximately 1 hour. New test administrators must complete 5 modules taking approximately 3 hours 30 minutes. All users will be required to pass a quiz at the end of each module and print the certificate of completion.
A. The FCS collects important information about student characteristics such as communication and academic skills, as well as attention. The survey is used by the DLM system in assigning the first testlet level for each content area. Therefore, a test administrator must complete the FCS for every student on their roster. The FCS, found in Educator Portal, must be reviewed each year and resubmitted. Test Administrators can find more information about the First Contact Survey in the DLM Test Administration Manual.
A. The Personal Needs and Preferences Profile activates certain accessibility features both within the system and documents supports provided outside of the DLM system. The PNP is found in Educator Portal and must be reviewed/resubmitted every year for a student. Test Administrators can find more information about the Personal Needs and Preferences Profile in the DLM Accessibility Manual and the DLM Test Administration Manual.
A. The Instruction and Assessment Planner is an optional resource available to teachers in Educator Portal that will allow them to create instructional plans for an individual student. Educators are then able to administer (optional) testlets for a single Essential Element throughout the instructionally embedded assessment window during the fall and winter months, tracking a student's progress. Test Administrators can find more information about Instruction and Assessment Planner in the DLM Test Administration Manual or on the Educator Resource Page.
A. It depends. While the Instruction and Assessment Planner can provide useful information, it should not be confused with a formal common benchmark assessment, nor should it be used for any high stakes decisions regarding students. By design, the Instruction and Assessment Planner system allows flexibility for a teacher to choose a standard and at a specific linkage level to assess based upon an individual student’s level of understanding. There are currently a limited number of testlets at each linkage level. The Instruction and Assessment Planner contains all the essential elements that are in the blueprint, plus some additional ones. The Instruction and Assessment Planner system provides mastered or not mastered results for each linkage level tested for essential element, but it does not generate a performance level score for the EEs assessed, thereby making it difficult to predict a student’s future performance. Instruction and Assessment Planner is available starting September 14, 2020 – February 24, 2021.
With those cautions in mind, a teacher may be able to use the system as a means of informally measuring individual student progress toward a specific standard or group of standards. In the same way, this tool could also be used formatively so as to immediately adjust teaching during an instructional cycle. In short, the Instruction and Assessment Planner system is probably not a good alternate to tests such as MAP and STAR, but teachers certainly could use it as an informal benchmarking or formative tool within their own practice.
A. Students in grades 3-11 are tested in English language arts and mathematics. Students in grades 4 and 8-11 will be tested in science. In addition, students in grades 4, 8 and 10 will be tested using the DPI social studies rater form.
A. TIPs are located on the Test Management tab in Educator Portal for the required spring assessments. The TIPs for the optional instructionally embedded assessments are in the Instruction and Assessment Planner. Test administrators can review sample TIPS at About Testlet Information Pages YE.
A. Students in all tested grades will receive 9 testlets in ELA and 6-8 testlets in mathematics, depending on the student’s grade. Students in grades 4 and 8-11 will receive 9 testlets in science. The number of testlets in each grade for ELA, Math, and Science is shown in the table below, which is also found in the back of the Test Administration Manual.
Test administrators are also responsible for entering a performance level for social studies for students in grades 4, 8 and 10. These performance levels are determined based upon a rater form that can be completed at any time prior to the end of the test window. Students may be assigned zero or one field test testlet in each subject. A field test testlet may be at one linkage level below, one linkage level above, or at the same linkage level as the last operational testlet delivered in the subject.
A. Your student has completed testing if you have administered the number of testlets as shown in the table below. Your District Test Coordinator is also able to run DLM Test Administration Monitoring Reports for your district.
Content Area Tested
Grade Levels Assessed
Number of Testlets
Approximate length of time, depending on grade level and student’s individual needs
English language arts
6 - 8 testlets
4 and 8-11
45 – 125 minutes
Social Studies Rater Form
4, 8 and 10
A. Your Technical Liaison can help you troubleshoot these issues using the Kite Suite Whitelist Settings https://dynamiclearningmaps.org/sites/default/files/documents/Kite_Suite_Whitelist_Settings.pdf
A. Yes. If a student is unable to enter a response into the computer, but they indicate their response in some other fashion such as eye gaze, manipulatives, verbalization, etc., the Test Administrator may enter the response into the computer on behalf of the student. This system for responding to items should be consistent with the student’s usual means of expressing choices.
A DLM Wisconsin webpage > Educator Resource Page > Released Testlets and Sample Testlet Information Pages . Some released testlets are available in PDF format and can be shared with the students’ parents or guardians. Also, some released testlets can be accessed in Kite Student Portal, using the demo logins. These demo logins and information about the sample testlets are found in the Guide to Practice Activities and Released Testlets (pdf)
A. Yes. There are no time limits set on DLM tests and no limits on the use of breaks during testing. There are three ways a student can take a break during testing: take a short break (90 minutes or less), take a break between tests or stop in the middle of a test using the Exit Does Not Save button. All testing must be completed within the test window.
A. No. Paraprofessionals cannot engage in evaluation practices or evaluate students. Therefore they cannot administer the DLM Alternate Assessment.
A. No. In order to be a test administrator, he/she would have to be licensed as a guidance counselor AND be currently employed in that position.
A. Yes. They can administer the test as long as they are familiar with the student and the student’s response style, have completed the required test administration training, and are an employee of the school district.
A. Yes, as long as the paraprofessional is only assisting the teacher. The paraprofessional cannot administer the test or evaluate the student. Teachers should be familiar with their students’ response styles.
A. Yes. Test Administrators are expected to deliver DLM assessments with integrity and maintain the security of the testlets. Test Administrators will read and agree to the DLM Security Agreement through the Educator Portal. Each Test Administrator will need to complete a module on Test Security and pass a test with 80 % proficiency. The district is responsible to make sure all test administrators are trained.
A. Testlets at the lowest linkage levels (all at the Initial Precursor linkage level and some at the Distal Precursor linkage level) include “no response” as one of the response options. This is an appropriate choice if the student has not provided an intentional response. However, note that using ‘no response’ is the same as leaving the item blank. Testlets at the upper linkage levels do not include “no response” options. If the student has not provided an intentional response, then the test administrator should leave each item blank for which the student has not responded and submit the testlet for scoring (End). Since test assignment is adaptive, it is possible that the assignment of the next testlet may be at a lower linkage level, and the student may be able to provide appropriate responses.
Test administrators must administer a minimum of two consecutive testlets. After two consecutive testlets with no response, it is a district decision as to when to stop testing. When a student has not provided an intentional response for all items within the two testlets, the student will be considered a test participant in the given subject area. The students score report will indicate the lowest accountability level.
A. No. A student teacher is neither a licensed teacher nor hired by the school/district. Student teachers may observe the administration of the DLM or may assist as needed and as appropriate.
A. More than one licensed test administrator may give the DLM test to one student, as long as this is appropriate for the student and the test administrators are all familiar with the student's response style. However, test tickets will only appear to the test administrator for whom the student is rostered. Students can only be rostered to one test administrator.
A. Students must be tested for the grade in which they are currently enrolled, and they should be enrolled in the grade that corresponds to their chronological age. Additionally, students should be instructed in the curriculum that is appropriate for their enrolled grade level. The curriculum used (e.g., the general curriculum based upon the Wisconsin Academic Standards or the alternate curriculum based on the Wisconsin Essential Elements) is the information that should be considered when deciding if a student participates in the Forward Exam or DLM. The IEP team will also use the Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessment to determine whether a student will participate in the Forward Exam 3-8 or ACT High School Assessments, with or without accommodations or the DLM, with or without supports.
A. The decision about whether or not a student takes the DLM or the Forward Exam and ACT High School Assessments, with or without accommodations, is made by the IEP team using the Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessment. This decision should not be made based on disability area, or on which test a student would be most likely to demonstrate proficiency. Instead, IEP teams should determine which curriculum is used to teach the student, either the general curriculum aligned with the Wisconsin Academic Standards or the alternate curriculum aligned with the Wisconsin Essential Elements. The content taught within the alternate curriculum reflects the skills assessed by the DLM. The DLM is intended for students whose instruction is based upon the Essential Elements. IEP Teams may also use the Guidance for Determining Participation in General Education Standards and Curriculum to Support DPI Model Form (I-4) to help in making the decision.
A. Yes. Any service time missed during testing, even if the student is tested by the service provider, must be made up.
A. The Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessment is posted on the Special Education Team page and the Office of Educational Accountability page. IEP Teams may also use the Guidance for Determining Participation in General Education Standards and Curriculum to Support DPI Model Form (I-4) to help in making the decision.
A. DPI provides information to parents regarding their students score report. Dynamic Learning Maps has also created additional information for parent and teachers regarding grade-level performance level descriptors. DLM scores are also provided in WISEdash for those schools that had students in grades 3 through 11 taking the DLM assessment.
A. WISEdash for Districts is a secure platform that provides dashboards for district-wide use of student data including specific detail inquiry, topic-specific current and trend data, and advanced analysis dashboards to compare data and demographics over time.
A. Log into WISEhome with a personal WAMS ID or an approved district email account and request to have your agency's administrator grant you access to an application through the WISEsecure system.
A. Several learning resources are available including: WISEdash for Districts guides, videos, and other resources.
A. WISEdash Public is a data portal that uses dashboards, or visual collections of graphs and tables, to provide multi-year education data about Wisconsin schools. Data on the portal are redacted and available by school, district, or state. Users can disaggregate data by student subgroups and make district or school side-by-side comparisons.
A. The WISExplore group builds capacity with educators to engage in data inquiry processes and culturally responsive continuous improvement practices utilizing WISEdash portals and many other data sources. The Using Assessment Dashboards presentation created by the WISExplore team in collaboration with the Office of Educational Accountability, is a guide to interacting with various dashboards and useful tools to analyze assessment data.
A. Districts should provide ISRs to parents/guardians shortly after receiving them. Districts are responsible for the secure distribution of the ISRs to parents/guardians in a language they can understand and in a format that is accessible to them. This may be done by mailing a hard copy of the report, posting a copy of the report on the district’s parent portal, or meeting with parents/guardians. Note that simply sharing assessment scores is not sufficient as the ISR contains additional information useful to parents.
A. Single-district virtual schools are based in only one district. These schools may have students attending under open enrollment from other districts as well as from their own district.
Virtual multi-district charter (MDC) schools are consortium charter schools where a district-authorized charter school partners with other school districts to provide instruction to the students from the partner districts. A version of the MDC is included in each partnering district.
- The Resident/Partnering District is the district that is sending its own students to another district’s virtual MDC.
- The Authorizing District is the district who enters into a contract with a governance board to create and oversee the virtual charter school. The authorizing district would also enter into contracts with one or more partnering districts to provide instruction to those districts’ virtual students.
- The Consortium Districts refers to all of the districts, i.e., the authorizing and partnering districts, that are parties to the consortium agreement
A. Single-district virtual schools are responsible for testing all students enrolled in grades 3-11. This may be done in the district, or with district staff at other arranged sites. Virtual school students need to be tested by a licensed teacher who has completed all DLM training. As a matter of best practice the teacher administering the assessment should be familiar with the student and the student's needs. Other districts should not test students who live in their attendance area and attend a virtual school in another district.
A. Virtual multi-district charter (MDC) schools are consortium charter schools where a district-authorized charter school partners with other school districts to provide instruction to students from the partner districts as well as their own students. The virtual MDC school of the authorizing district is responsible for testing and must work with the partnering districts to ensure all students enrolled in the MDC are tested, unless otherwise specified in the Consortium Agreement / s. 66.0301 Contract.
For state accountability, the authorizing district of the virtual MDC school receives a school-level report card that includes all students enrolled in the MDC from all consortium districts.
The district report card for a partnering district includes all students in that district, i.e., it will include the students attending the MDC school from their district. The students from participating districts are included in their district’s report card.
For federal accountability, students attending a MDC are included in the test participation rate of their resident district.
A. The Wisconsin Essential Elements are alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. These standards are clearly linked to grade-level academic content standards, promote access to the general curriculum and reflect professional judgment of the highest expectation possible. The Wisconsin Essential Elements exist in English/language arts, mathematics, and science.
A. Dynamic Learning Maps has developed conceptual maps for all Essential Elements assessed on the DLM assessment. Each EE is represented in the map by a collection of nodes and the connections among them. The DLM consortium uses nodes that represent EE-related skills at different levels of cognitive complexity to create assessments that are accessible for a broad range of students.