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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 for Determining Participation in General Education Standards and Curriculum, 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, Mathematics, and Science. 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.

Social Studies Standards Review

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 an academic area with a public comment period - this was begun on January 28, 2020 for Wisconsin Alternate Academic Standards for Social Studies. The State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council examines those comments and recommends whether to revise or develop those standards. The State Superintendent authorized the writing of new Wisconsin Academic Standards for Essential Elements: Social Studies.

The writing committee has developed a draft of the new standards. The first draft was released on July 13, 2021 for a public review and 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.

Essential Elements: English Language Arts Standards Review Process Begins

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 month-long public comment period which began on July 13, 2021. The State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council will examine those comments in September 2021 and recommend whether to revise or develop those standards. The State Superintendent determines whether to move forward with a revision process or continue with the current standards. If revision or development is determined to be needed, a state writing committee is then formed to work on those standards for all grade levels. That draft is then made openly available for review to get feedback from the public, key stakeholders, educators, and the Legislature, with further review by the State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council. The State Superintendent then determines adoption of the standards.

Essential Elements: Mathematics Standards Review Process Begins

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 month-long public comment period which began on July 13, 2021. The State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council will examine those comments in September 2021 and recommend whether to revise or develop those standards. The State Superintendent determines whether to move forward with a revision process or continue with the current standards. If revision or development is determined to be needed, a state writing committee is then formed to work on those standards for all grade levels. That draft is then made openly available for review to get feedback from the public, key stakeholders, educators, and the Legislature, with further review by the State Superintendent’s Academic Standards Review Council. The State Superintendent then determines adoption of the standards.

Historical Information

Science Standards Review 

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 an academic area with a public comment period - this was begun on August 2nd, 2017 for ​Wisconsin Essential Elements​: Science. The State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council examines those comments and recommends whether to revise or develop those standards. The State Superintendent determines whether to move forward with a revision process or continue with the current standards. If a revision is determined to be needed, a state writing committee is then formed to work on revision or development of those standards for all grade levels. That draft is then made available for open review to get feedback from the public, key stakeholders, educators, and the Legislature, with further review by the State Superintendent’s Standards Review Council. The State Superintendent then determines adoption of the standards.