Topical Guides


5. Includes changes to the individualized education program (IEP).
The IEP must include the following:
  • For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives (within the required statement of a child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance);
  • A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on state and districtwide assessments consistent with Section 612(a)(16)(A) of IDEA; and
  • If the IEP team determines that the child shall take an alternate assessment on a particular state or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment, and the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child.
[614(d)(1)(A)(i)(I)(cc), (VI)(aa)-(bb) of IDEA]

Dialogue Starter - Cross-stakeholder

Reaction Questions

  1. Some have expressed concern in the alignment of instructional accommodations and assessment as a conflict may arise between the accommodations appropriate for classroom instruction and accommodations allowed for testing purposes.
    What options might exist to address this issue?

  2. What do you think prompted Congress to remove the benchmark and objectives for students with disabilities who do not take alternate assessments linked to alternate achievement standards?

  3. How might we find out about the testing differences between alternate assessments for all students and those who only take alternate assessment linked to alternate achievement standards?

  4. What are the implications for IEP development among students who do not take alternate assessments?

  5. How might we locate research to make informed decisions related to statewide/district wide assessments?

Application Questions

  1. Who might be involved in incorporating this provision into IEPs?
    • What other information might be considered?
    • Who has this information?

  2. How might benchmarks and short-term objectives relate to alternate achievement standards? Is there a research base that supports this?

  3. What might facilitate the decision-making process in supporting this provision?
    • Do we provide extra test time for everyone?
    • Do we expand the accommodations available?

  4. How can we collaborate with test developers, educators, and parents to promote the use of universal design to enable alignment with test and instruction?

  5. How might guidance and professional development be provided to IEP teams in determining when alternate assessments are appropriate?

    These questions were developed by the following stakeholders working together:

    Role: Teacher
    Location: Washington, DC

    Role: Parent
    Location: Maryland

    Role: Parent
    Location: South Carolina

    Role: Policymaker
    Location: Virginia

    Role: Service provider
    Location: Virginia