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1% Alternate Assessment Participation Threshold Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

1% Calculation and Accountability


District Verifications


District Decisions


IEP Team Considerations


1% Calculation and Accountability

Q.  How are participation rates calculated?

A.  When calculating a district's participation rate, DPI considers only the grade levels that are factored into federal accountability (3-8 and 11) for each subject area. Calculations are applied to the district level, not to school level. In addition, the data includes any students sent outside of the district for services but for whom the district is still accountable. All data was reported by districts at the time of testing.

Q.  Why is the data sent in my notification letter different from my district information system data?

A.  It is possible that the student's primary disability was not provided by the district in the assessment data files for students listed as participating in the alternate assessment. These students would be included in the total, but not in the by disability category numbers. A district should look through their records and ensure that all students participating in the alternate assessment are a student with a disability and have a primary disability listed in WISEdata. Districts are responsible for validating the assessment data in the vendor portal during the assessment window as well as WISEdata.

Q.  How are the results of the DLM incorporated in School/District report cards?

A.  Participation and performance in the DLM is factored in the school report card the same way as the general assessment.

Q.  Some districts offer programming for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities through a contract/tuition agreement. Will students in these cases count in the district of attendance or the district of residence?

A.  In circumstances where there is a special agreement for services, the district of residence is typically also the district of accountability. Therefore, most often the student was included in the participation counts for the district of residence and not the district that provided the services.

Q.  How is the 1% rule applied if a parent of a student with the most significant cognitive disabilities decided to 'opt out' their child from the DLM?

A.  Students who are opted out of assessment are not included in the 1% participation calculations as they are considered ‘not tested’ for accountability purposes. Parent opt-outs did, however, count against the district's’ required 95% participation rate on the school and district report card.


District Verifications

Q.  When is a district required to complete a Verification form?

A.  ESSA requires the DPI to submit a waiver should they exceed the 1% participation threshold 90 days prior to the assessment window. In order for the DPI to meet this timeline, districts will need to report their expected alternate assessment participation through WISEdata beginning in September 2017. Based upon data from the spring 2017 assessment, the DPI will contact districts who have exceeded their 1.0 percent participation threshold to request a verification in October of each year.

Q.  What if students taking the alternate assessment moves in after the deadline to submit a verification?

A.  ESSA does not address student mobility throughout the academic year. If a student moves into the district after the verification process has been completed, districts are not required to re-submit a verification based upon student mobility. Students should take the appropriate assessment based upon their curriculum and IEP determination at the time of the test window. If the student is still enrolled the following year, then the district would include the student in their anticipated participation calculations.


District Decisions

Q.  Can a district deny an open enrollment request for a student who participates in the alternate assessment if it will put the district over the 1% threshold?

A.  No. A pupil may not be denied open enrollment because the pupil is a child with a disability or based on the category of the disability. An open enrollment application may be denied if the nonresident school district does not have space for the pupil. For a child with a disability, this includes availability of and space in the special education and related services required in the pupil’s individualized threshold education program (IEP). While district participation in the alternate assessment impacts the state level percentage, please remember that the cap is at the state level and not specifically at the district level.


IEP Team Considerations

Q.  Will the ESSA changes and DPI guidance be reflected on the I-7A and I-4?

A.  Yes. The sample IEP forms, I-7A and I-4, have been updated to reflect changes in ESSA and the guidance regarding who is a student with the most significant cognitive disability.

Q.  If a student meets the criteria, does a specific disability category matter?

A.  No. The decision to participate in alternate academic achievement standards, aligned to the alternate assessment, should be made by the IEP team. The IEP team should consider the state guidance of the most significant cognitive disability and the proposed participation guidelines. That being said, there are disability categories that one would not expect to see participating in an alternate assessment. For example, IEP teams have determined that students qualifying for Specific Learning Disability (SLD) criteria have learning problems that are not primarily the result of intellectual disabilities and therefore do not meet the guidance for a student with the most significant cognitive disability.