Public reporting on the academic achievement of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities helps ensure that public schools are accountable for providing these students with access to the general education curriculum and the state’s academic standards. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) require states to disaggregate participation and performance data for students with disabilities who participate in the alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards (AA-AAAS).
For purposes of ESEA accountability, states make policy decisions about whether to combine results from AA-AAAS with the general assessment results. If they are combined, most states aggregate scores by proficiency level, indicating that proficient performance on the AA-AAAS counts just as much as a proficient performance on the general assessment.
Disaggregation of the performance of English learners with the most significant cognitive disabilities on the AA-AAAS is not required by federal law. Still, disaggregation is considered appropriate when group sizes are large enough.
Frequently Asked Questions
States are required to report data on participation and performance for the AA-AAAS to the federal government. They are also required to publish public reports on AA-AAAS participation and performance when they report on general assessment performance.
Performance data from the AA-AAAS can be used to determine the extent to which educational programs are helping students to achieve positive results from their education. Poor assessment scores indicate the need for improved programs and services.
States do not report public data that identify individual students. In circumstances where there are very few students participating in a particular assessment, a state will set a minimum number below which it will not publicly report results. This minimum number is intended to protect student confidentiality. The minimum number varies by state.