This week, the U.S. Department of Education announced its intention to rescind the use of alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS), known as the “2% test” by the end of the 2013-2014 school year. The Department’s proposal is available for public comment until October 7th before becoming final.
In 2007, the Department issued regulations which allowed states to develop an AA-MAS for students with disabilities who were not expected to reach grade-level proficiency and count up to 2% of student scores as “proficient” under the accountability system.
Currently, less than 20 states use an AA-MAS approved by the U.S. Department of Education. According to the Advocacy Institute, in the 2010-2011 school year, more than 400,000 students with disabilities were assessed using the AA-MAS, ranging from a high of 52% of students with disabilities tested by the AA-MAS in Oklahoma to a low of 8% in Minnesota.
CEC commends the Department for proposing to phase out the AA-MAS as it is consistent with the design of new assessments that 44 states have committed to creating through two federally-funded consortia: Smarter Balanced Assessments and the PARCC Assessments. Both consortia have committed to creating assessments that accommodate a broad range of learners and use the principles of Universal Design for Learning, which will be operational in the 2014-2015 school year. (Check out some sample questions for Smarter Balanced here, and PARCC here.)
CEC agrees with the Department’s statement, “with the development and implementation of more accessible general assessments, combined with appropriate supports and instruction, we believe that modified academic achievement standards and alternate assessments based on those standards will no longer be educationally appropriate.”
Additionally, 41 states have committed to phasing out the AA-MAS through their approved ESEA Waivers.CEC will submit formal comments by the Department’s October 7th deadline, which will also be posted to this blog…stay tuned!