Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) Overview

The alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) is an assessment of academic content used for accountability purposes. It is intended to be used with students with significant cognitive disabilities as determined by each state's eligibility criteria.

National data on who participates in AA-AAS show that most students are those with the most significant cognitive disabilities, primarily those with intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities. This group includes students who are also English learners (ELs). ELs with disabilities who participate in an AA-AAS, may also take an English Language Proficiency (ELP) alternate assessment.

Sometimes referred to as the 1% assessment, the 1% now refers to a state-level cap of 1 percent of all tested students who may participate in this assessment. This cap is meant to avoid inappropriate inclusion of students with disabilities in an assessment based on different achievement expectations. Previously (under No Child Left Behind) the 1% meant that no more than 1% of the total population of tested students could count as proficient for accountability using an AA-AAS.  

The achievement of grade-level content by students with significant cognitive disabilities is very different from their general education classroom peers, but the evidence of their work is compelling. Given the right kinds of supports, these students, including ELs with significant cognitive disabilities, are able to learn academic content with reduced complexity, breadth, and depth clearly linked to the same grade-level content as their peers. Researchers and practitioners are working side-by-side to capture the nature of the linkages to the grade-level content in both instruction and in assessment.

All students, including students who participate in the AA-AAS, should be reaching for post-secondary education and work when they leave high school. States and consortia of states have developed new AA-AAS that are aligned to college and career standards.

 

Quick Links to the AA-AAS Consortia:

Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) 

National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) 

 

Related Publications

NCEO Data Analytics: State Assessment Participation and Performance of Students with IEPs 2013-2014 (#5)

Formats: Online

Considerations for Developing State-Defined Alternate Diplomas for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO APR Snapshot Briefs: 2013-2014 APR Snapshot #12: AA-AAS Participation and Performance (#12)

Formats: Online

NCEO APR Snapshot Briefs: 2013-2014 APR Snapshot #10: State Assessment Participation and Performance of Students Receiving Special Education Services (#10)

Formats: Online

NCEO Reports: Principios y Características de Sistemas Inclusivos de Evaluación en un Escenario de Evaluación Cambiante (#400 Spanish)

Formats: Online , PDF

White Paper on Common Accessibility Language for States and Assessment Vendors

Formats: PDF

NCEO APR Snapshot Briefs: 2011-2012 APR Snapshot #9: AA-AAS Participation and Performance (#9)

Formats: Online

NCEO Reports: 2013-14 Publicly Reported Assessment Results for Students with Disabilities and ELLs with Disabilities (#401)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Reports: Principles and Characteristics of Inclusive Assessment Systems in a Changing Assessment Landscape (#400)

Formats: Online , PDF

White Paper on English Language Learners with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Formats: PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: Science Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) During School Year 2014-2015 (#99)

Formats: Online , PDF

Forum on Implementing Accessibility Frameworks for ALL Students

Formats: PDF

NCEO State Surveys: 2014 Survey of States: Initiatives, Trends, and Accomplishments

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Technical Reports: 2012-13 Publicly Reported Assessment Results for Students with Disabilities and ELLs with Disabilities (#70)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Data Analytics: Graduation Policies for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who Participate in States' AA-AAS (#1)

Formats: Online

NCEO Synthesis Reports: Graduation Policies for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who Participate in States' AA-AAS (#97)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: States' Flexibility Waiver Plans for Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) (#96)

Formats: Online , PDF

Rethinking Assumptions about Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement Standards

Formats: PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: A Brief History of Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (#68)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Policy Directions: Planning Alignment Studies For Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (#20)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Policy Directions: Aligning Alternate Assessments to Grade Level Content Standards - Issues and Considerations for Alternates Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (#19)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: Dealing with Flexibility in Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (#60)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: One State's Story: Access and Alignment to the GRADE-LEVEL Content for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (#57)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO English Language Learners (ELLs) with Disabilities Reports: Policymaker Perspectives on the Inclusion of English Language Learners with Disabilities in Statewide Assessments (#8)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO State Surveys: 2003 State Special Education Outcomes - Marching On

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: Measuring Academic Achievement of Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: Building Understanding of Alternate Assessment Scoring Criteria (#50)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Synthesis Reports: A Report of a Standard Setting Method for Alternate Assessments for Students with Significant Disabilities (#47)

Formats: Online , PDF

NCEO Policy Directions: Including Alternate Assessment Results in Accountability Decisions (#13)

Formats: Online

NCEO State Surveys: 2001 State Special Education Outcomes - A Report on State Activities at the Beginning of a New Decade

Formats: Online , PDF