You are here

Wisconsin Alternate Academic Achievement Standards

Overview of Wisconsin Alternate Academic Achievement Standards

All students, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, deserve and have a right to a quality educational experience. This right includes, to the maximum extent possible, the opportunity to be involved in and meet the same challenging expectations that have been established for all students. To ensure students with the most significant cognitive disabilities have that opportunity, Wisconsin educators collaborated with educators from several other states in the Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium (DLM) to create alternate academic achievement standards called the Essential Elements. These alternate academic achievement standards are aligned to the Wisconsin Academic Standards. The Essential Elements have been created in the areas of English language arts, mathematics, and science.

The Essential Elements were developed to satisfy the requirement of the U.S. Department of Education that Wisconsin have alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities that are clearly linked to grade-level academic content standards, promote access to the general curriculum and reflect professional judgment of the highest expectation possible.

IEP teams are required to consider whether a student with the most significant cognitive disability should receive instruction aligned to alternate achievement standards and participate in alternate assessments. To make this decision, IEP teams can use the document Guidance to Determining Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities, when filling out the sample IEP form I-4 IEP: Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. This document guides the IEP team through a step-by-step decision making process to determine the most appropriate curriculum for that individual student.

Wisconsin has alternate academic achievement standards called the Wisconsin Essential Elements in English language arts, mathematics, and science. Currently there is no consortium work similar to the Essential Elements for social studies, therefore Wisconsin is starting the process to write alternate standards for social studies. The alternate standards are K-12 academic standards, are aligned with college and career expectations, include rigorous content, and application. For students to be college and career ready, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, educators should include instruction in both academic content, as well as the reading and writing skills needed to demonstrate learning in the other disciplinary areas.

Wisconsin Essential Elements

Wisconsin has alternate academic achievement standards called the Wisconsin Essential Elements in English Language Arts, MathematicsScience, and Social Studies. These standards are K-12 academic standards, are aligned with college and career expectations, include rigorous content, and application. For students to be college and career ready, including students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, educators should include instruction in both academic content, as well as the reading and writing skills needed to demonstrate learning in the other disciplinary areas.

Standards Review Process for Essential Elements: English Language Arts and Essential Elements: Mathematics

The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has a transparent and comprehensive process for reviewing and revising academic standards. The process began with a Notice of Intent to review and a public comment period which began on July 13, 2021. The State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council examined those comments and recommended to revise the standards. The State Superintendent authorized the writing of revised Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (complete), and now Essential Elements for English Language Arts and Essential Elements for Mathematics.

The writing committee has developed drafts of the new standards. The first draft was released on January 24, 2022 for a public review and will be provided to the education committees of the legislature. After the 30 day comment period ends, the State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council will provide further review. The State Superintendent then determines adoption of the standards.

Public Comment on Draft Standards (open through February 23, 2022)