Alternate Assessment Consortia
Federal grants totaling $67 million were awarded in 2010 to two consortia of states — the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Alternate Assessment Consortium and the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) — to design a new generation of assessments for students with the most significant cognitive impairments.
The K–12 Center has created summaries and illustrations of the designs of the two alternate assessment consortia which have been approved by the consortia.
One-page summaries updated in 2014 can be found here:
More detailed descriptions can be found in our guide to the consortia, Coming Together to Raise Achievement: New Assessments for the Common Core State Standards (PDF) (March 2014). The section about each alternate assessment consortium can be found here:
- Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium: pages 32–37 (PDF)
- National Center and State Collaborative: pages 38–44 (PDF)
Additional Information About the Grant
The alternate tests, which aim to assess the knowledge of mathematics and English-language arts in grades 3–8 and once in high school, will be accessible to students with significant cognitive disabilities. These assessments will be aligned to the same Common Core State Standards recently developed by governors and chief state school officers, as well as adopted by 46 states and the District of Columbia (as of November 17, 2011). They also are expected to fit cohesively within the comprehensive assessment systems under development by the federal grant recipients, the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), of the Race to the Top initiative.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) awarded $45 million to NCSC and $22 million to DLM. Both of the consortia plan to implement comprehensive systems of formative and summative assessments, as well as instructional and professional development resources.
The NCSC collation of states is led by the National Center on Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota. The DLM consortium is led by the University of Kansas Center for Research. The assessments are scheduled to be ready for use in the 2014–2015 school year, when the comprehensive assessment systems are also due to become operational.
The project officer of the two resulting cooperative agreements, Susan Weigert of OSEP's National Initiatives Team at the U.S. Department of Education, may be contacted at 1-202-245-6522 for further information on the alternate assessments.
For more information: