Alternate assessments are used to evaluate the performance of students who are unable to participate in general state assessments even with accommodations. Alternate assessments provide a mechanism for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, and for other students with disabilities who may need alternate ways to access assessments, to be included in an educational accountability system.
There currently is one type of alternate assessment:
Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. These assessments are based on the grade-level content covered by the general assessment, but at reduced depth, breadth, and complexity. These assessments describe achievement based on what a state determines is a high expectation for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
In the past some states also offered Alternate Assessments Based on Grade-level Achievement Standards (AA-GLAS) or Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS).
Alternate assessments of English language proficiency (ELP) now must be developed by states for their ELs with significant cognitive disabilities.