Lisa McBride
Achievement and Assessment Institute

North Dakota joins alternate assessment system consortium

Wed, 07/24/2013

LAWRENCENorth Dakota becomes the 17th state to join the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium (DLM), a multistate initiative developing an instructionally embedded, instructionally relevant, computer-based assessment designed to help students learn.

The DLM Consortium, led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, now has 17 member states: Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

“We welcome North Dakota as the 17th state to join our efforts in creating meaningful instruction and assessment systems for students with significant cognitive abilities,” DLM project director Neal Kingston said. “As the consortium continues to expand, it will benefit more students and their families as well as help teachers help their students.”

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment to help the 1 percent of the K–12 public school student population with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Even with accommodations, the general state assessments are not appropriate for these students. Therefore, these students take an alternate assessment.

Implementing the alternate assessment during the 2014–2015 school year will mark the first time most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment. Their participation represents another significant step to increased equity and improving educational outcomes.

The DLM assessment system is being designed to simultaneously support teacher instruction and student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction and by being embedded within teachers’ classroom activities throughout the school year.

“All of North Dakota’s students deserve the best learning and assessment processes we can provide them,” said Kirsten Baesler, North Dakota superintendent of public instruction. “Our statewide work group of special education teachers and program coordinators thoroughly researched the available options and believe that Dynamic Learning Maps offers the best program for our children who need an alternate assessment.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards in math and English language arts for the 1 percent population.

For more information on the project, visit the Dynamic Learning Maps website.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool, Career Pathways Assessment System, Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures, and the Accessibility for Technology Enhanced Assessments project. Many of these projects involve working with multiple states. CETE has worked with the state of Kansas for three decades to provide Kansas schools with a variety of assessment services. Through its partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education, CETE offers computerized assessments to all 286 Kansas school districts using computer testing software that CETE created.

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