Introduction

Welcome to the ITC Assessing Students with Disabilities Statewide webpage. Idaho believes in high expectations and achievement for every student, including students with disabilities. One element of having high expectations for students with disabilities is having them participate in statewide assessments. The expectation is that every student with a disability participate in all statewide assessments. This expectation focuses an IEP team’s assessment participation decision not on IF the student will participate, but HOW the student will participate. A student with a disability can participate in statewide assessments in one of three ways:

1. General assessment without accommodations
2. General assessment with accommodations
3. Alternate assessment (intended only for those students with the most significant cognitive impairments).

The Special Education and the Assessment and Accountability Departments collaborate to inform schools and parents about the educational trends related to standards-based instruction, classroom assessment materials, and accessibility options. The purpose of this webpage is provide information and resources related to how students with disabilities participate in Idaho’s statewide assessment system.

This webpage is organized in the four sections described below:

  • What's New – This section includes new information as it becomes available. Check this section frequently to learn about any exciting news or upcoming events. Information in this section will move into other relevant sections as it ages.
  • FAQs - This section includes some frequently asked questions and should be the first place you go for answers. The FAQs section is open to expansion as other frequently asked questions become apparent.
  • Links - This section includes links to assessment resources, both inside and outside of the Idaho State Department of Education.
  • Assessing Students with Disabilities Statewide Resources - This section includes webinar recordings, training materials, resources, and other documents relevant to implementing Idaho statewide assessments for students with disabilities and meeting the 1.0% cap on Idaho Alternate Assessment participation.

     


What's New?

(June 14, 2019) New IDAA participation criteria take effect on July 1, 2019. You will find the new participation criteria and definition of significant cognitive impairment in the 2018 Idaho Special Education Manual. You will find a video recording and the IDAA Participation Worksheet in the IDAA Participation Criteria Training Resource.

(June 14, 2019) The ACCUPLACER assessment will no longer be available to students with disabilities as a substitute for the College Board SAT assessment.  Teachers, counselors, and students are encouraged to investigate the Accommodations on College Board Exams website in preparation to support students who would have taken the ACCUPLACER in the past.  If you have questions about the College Board SAT, please contact Danielle Taylor Assessment Program Specialist (208-332-6903).


FAQs

The expectation is that every student with a disability participate in all statewide assessments in one of the following ways: without accommodations, with accommodations, or with an alternate assessment (only for those students with the most significant cognitive impairments). It is important to understand that an IEP team does not have the authority to exempt a student with a disability from participating in statewide assessments. Listed below are Idaho’s statewide assessments with comments about how students with disabilities participate.

  • College Entrance Exams: Most students with disabilities will meet the college entrance exam-graduation requirement by taking the SAT or ACT without or with accommodations. A student and his/her IEP team should always discuss the student’s participation in the SAT or ACT and the accommodations, if any, the student will need to access the assessment. The College Board is no longer providing the ACCUPLACER to K-12 agencies. Currently, there is not an alternative college entrance exam or other assessment for students with disabilities. Students with a current IEP should take the SAT or ACT with appropriate accommodations. Very few students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who meet the alternate assessment participation criteria are exempt from the college entrance exam requirement.

  • Idaho Reading Indicator: Most students will disabilities will take the IRI assessment without or with accommodations. The SDE recognizes that the IRI may not be accessible for some students who are deaf or hard of hearing or students who are blind or visually impaired. The SDE is convening workgroups to develop IRI accommodated forms that will be accessible for students who are deaf or hard of hearing or students who are blind or visually impaired.
    We encourage teachers to administer the IRI to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. However, the IRI may not be accessible for some students with significant cognitive disabilities. In these cases, districts may choose to administer an alternative (not alternate) literacy assessment to these students, which should be used to assess the student’s current literacy skills and guide the IEP teams in developing literacy-based IEP goals and objectives. Core Phonics is one example of an alternative assessment for use with students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Alternative literacy assessments will not produce early literacy equivalent ratings, nor are these ratings submitted to the SDE through the ISEE test results file. For more information about the IRI, visit the Idaho Reading Indicator webpage on the Assessment and Accountability website.

  • Idaho Standards Achievement Test (ISAT) Comprehensive Assessment System: Students take the summative ISATs in English/Language Art (ELA) and Math in grades 3-8 and 10 each spring. Students take the ISAT Science in grades 5, 8, and 11. Almost all students with disabilities, about 99%, take the ELA, Math, and Science ISATs with or without accommodations. Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, about 1% of the total student population, may qualify for the Idaho Alternate Assessment (IDAA) in ELA, Math, and Science.

  • IDAA ELA and Math: Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who qualify will take the IDAA ELA and Math in the same grades as their peers, grades 3-8 and 10. These assessments are administered online using the same secure browser as their peers taking the ISAT.

  • IDAA Science: Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who qualify will take the summative IDAA Science in grades 5, 7, and 10. The IDAA Science is a portfolio assessment for which teachers collect student artifacts to upload to the IPASS application. The IDAA Science Portfolio Manual and tutorials detailing the administration of the IDAA Science Portfolio are located in the IDAA Science Portfolio resource.

  • Note: 2019-20 is the last year the IDAA Science assessment will have a portfolio format. Starting in 2020-21, the IDAA Science will be administered online and will move to grades 5, 8, and 11, to correspond with the assessment schedule followed by their peers.

    A comparison of the ISAT and IDAA is outlined below. Specific information related to accommodations on the ISAT and the flexibility of the IDAA are discussed in subsequent FAQs.

    ISAT IDAA
    The ISAT assesses a student’s grade-level performance based on the Idaho Content Standards. The IDAA assesses a student’s grade-level performance based on the Idaho Extended Content Standards.
    Most all students with disabilities (about 99%) take the ISAT without or with accommodations. Only those students with the most significant cognitive disabilities may qualify to participate in the IDAA. Qualifying a student for the IDAA is an IEP team decision, based on the IDAA participation criteria.
    The ISAT is administered in large or small groups, although some students may test in a separate room from their peers. The IDAA is administered individually, with a familiar adult facilitating a student’s participation in the assessment.
    The ISAT is taken by students without accommodations or with a specific set of standard accommodations and designated supports. The IDAA allows for flexible administration based on the student’s individual needs.
    ELA and Math ISATs are administered fully online. ELA and Math IDAAs are administered fully online.
    ISAT Science is delivered online. IDAA Science is a portfolio assessment.

     

    The IDAA measures student achievement on the Extended Content Standards. The Extended Content Standards are aligned with the Idaho Content Standards, but have been reduced in depth and complexity. The Extended Content Standards are located on the Idaho Content Standards webpage under each relevant content; ELA, Math, and Science.

    The IDAA is intended only for those students with the most significant cognitive impairments, representing about 1% of the total student population. Significant cognitive impairment is defined as follows:

    A designation given to a small number of students with disabilities for the purposes of their participation in AAs. Having a significant cognitive impairment is not solely determined by an IQ test score, nor based on a specific disability category, but rather a complete understanding of the complex needs of a student. Students with significant cognitive impairments have a disability or multiple disabilities that significantly impact their adaptive skills and intellectual functioning. These students have adaptive skills well below average in two or more skill areas and intellectual functioning well below average (typically associated with an IQ below 55) ( Idaho Special Education Manual, 2018, p. xii).


    A student’s IEP team uses four criteria to determine if a student qualifies for the IDAA at the annual IEP team meeting. The student must meet all four criteria to qualify for the IDAA, which are listed below. Once a student qualifies, he/she will take the IDAA in all content areas. The four IDAA participation criteria are listed below:
    1. The student has a significant cognitive impairment.

    2. The student is receiving academic instruction that is aligned with the Idaho Extended Content Standards.

     

    a. The student’s instruction and IEP goals/objectives/benchmarks address knowledge and skills that are appropriate and challenging for the student.

     

    3. The student’s course of study is primarily adaptive-skills oriented, typically not measured by state or district assessments.

     

    a. Adaptive skills are essential to living independently and functioning safely in daily life, and include, but are not limited to motor skills, socialization, communication, personal care, self-direction, functional academics, and personal health and safety.

     

    4. Adaptive skills are essential to living independently and functioning safely in daily life, and include, but are not limited to motor skills, socialization, communication, personal care, self-direction, functional academics, and personal health and safety.

     

    a. The student consistently requires individualized instruction in core academic and adaptive skills at a substantially lower level relative to other peers with disabilities.

     

    b. It is extremely difficult for the student to acquire, maintain, generalize, and apply academic and adaptive skills in multiple settings, across all content areas, even with high-quality, extensive/intensive, pervasive, frequent, and individualized instruction.

     

    c. The student requires pervasive supports, substantially adapted materials, and individualized methods of accessing information in alternative ways to acquire, maintain, generalize, demonstrate, and transfer skills across multiple settings (Idaho Special Education Manual, 2018, pp. 84-85).

     


    There are also 14 non-participation criteria which should not be used as the basis for qualifying a student for the IDAA. Students shall not qualify to participate in the IDAA solely based on any of the following reasons:


    1. Having a disability

    2. Poor attendance or extended absences

    3. Native language/social, cultural, or economic differences

    4. Expected poor performance or past basic/below basic performance on the regular education assessment

    5. Academic and other services a student receives

    6. Educational environment or instructional setting

    7. Percent of time receiving special education services

    8. English Language Learner (ELL) status

    9. Low reading level/achievement level

    10. Anticipated disruptive behavior

    11. Impact of student scores on the accountability system

    12. Administrative decision

    13. Anticipated emotional distress

    14. Need for accommodations (e.g., assistive technology/AAC) to participate in the assessment (Idaho Special Education Manual, 2018, p. 85).

     

    Score reports for the IDAA in ELA and Math are located in the Online Reporting System in the ISAT Portal, by clicking on the Alternate Assessment ELA & Math card. You will find resources for understanding the score reports and information for parents on the Alternate Assessments ELA & Math Reporting Resources - ISAT Portal.

    Individual student score reports for the IDAA Science Portfolio are produced using the score report generator. This tool allows districts and schools to create individual student score reports for students who took the IDAA Science Portfolio. There are two steps to producing these score reports.

    1. Download data from the Assessment Data Export Application (ADEA) application. The manual for downloading data is located in the application.
    2. Download and use the Excel-based score report generator to create the score reports. Directions for using the score report generator are included within the Excel file itself.

    All English language learners (ELs) are required to take the ACCESS assessment, unless they have exited the program. Accommodations are available to ELs with disabilities when specified on the student’s IEP or Section 504 Plan and when the student requires the accommodation(s) to participate in the ACCESS in a meaningful and appropriate way. The IEP or Section 504 team should meet and review the accommodations and supports allowable on the ACCESS prior to testing. It is the IEP team’s responsibility to choose appropriate tools, supports, and accommodations based on the student’s needs and what is allowable on the ACCESS and/or specific language domain(s). Visit the WIDA Accessibility and Accommodations webpage to download the WIDA Accessibility and Accommodations Supplement for specifics on ACCESS allowable accommodations.

    WIDA offers the Alternate ACCESS for EL students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Only those EL students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who meet all of the IDAA participation criteria are permitted to take the Alternate ACCESS, as determined by the student’s IEP team. The IDAA participation criteria are outlined in the How does a student qualify for the IDAA? FAQ above.

    The student’s IEP and EL teams should work closely to determine how ELs with disabilities will participate in the ACCESS. The person able to solicit the best responses from a student should administer the assessment.

    IDAPA Rule 08.02.03 Rules Governing Thoroughness Section 111 ASSESSMENT IN THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS addresses how students with disabilities are expected to participate in statewide assessments.

    IDAPA 08.02.03.111.04. Testing Population. All students in Idaho public schools, grades kindergarten through ten (K-10), are required to participate in the comprehensive assessment program approved by the State Board of Education and funded. (4-6-05)

    a. All students who are eligible for special education shall participate in the statewide assessment program. (4-6-05)
    b. Each student’s individualized education program team shall determine whether the student shall participate in the regular assessment without accommodations, the regular assessment with accommodations or adaptations, or whether the student qualifies for and shall participate in the alternate assessment. (4-6-05)

    Some students (with or without disabilities) may only be exempt from statewide testing as described in IDAPA Rule 08.02.03 Rules Governing Thoroughness Section 112 ACCOUNTABILITY

    IDAPA 08.02.03.112.05.e Participation Rate.

    i(2) Students who are absent for the entire state-approved testing window because of medical reasons or are homebound are exempt from taking the ISAT if such circumstances prohibit them from participating. Students who drop out, withdraw, or are expelled prior to the beginning of the final makeup portion of the test window are considered exited from the school. (4-7-11)



    Assessing Students with Disabilities Statewide Resources

    Contact Us


    karren streagle, ph.d.

    Alternate Assessment/Low Incidence Disabilities/Medicaid Coordinator
    Special Education Department
    Phone: 208-332-6824
    kstreagle@sde.idaho.gov


    sde Idaho State Department of Education
    650 W. State Street
    PO Box 83720
    Boise, ID 83720-0027