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Alternate Assessment (AA)

about 1 year ago

Alaska Alternate Assessments (AA) are designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. These assessments are based on the grade-level content covered by the general assessment, but at reduced depth, breadth, and complexity. These assessments describe achievement based on what is determined to be high expectations for these students. Students with significant cognitive disabilities have a disability or multiple disabilities that significantly impact intellectual functions and adaptive behavior.

Students with significant cognitive disabilities will have access to, participate in, and make progress in the general education curricula in compliance with the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA; 2004). All students must participate in statewide assessments in compliance with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). If students meet the criteria in the following guidelines, they will take an alternate assessment. It is expected that only a small number (less than two percent) of all students will participate in an alternate assessment.

The Alaska Alternate Assessment is based on content standards called Essential Elements which are aligned to the Alaska Standards but reduced in complexity, breadth, and depth. The proficiency levels (cut scores and descriptors) reflect a different set of academic expectations for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The Essential Elements are located on the department website at

Eligibility for the Alaska Alternate Assessment is a decision made by the IEP team members on an annual basis during the annual IEP meeting. Decisions made by the IEP team are reflected in the student’s IEP and kept in the student’s special education file. Parents must be informed when their child's achievement will be based on alternate achievement standards. Alternate achievement standards are proficiency scores and proficiency level descriptors that are different from the achievement standards for the general education assessment. Students taking the Alternate Assessment are not eligible to receive a high school diploma.

Assessment Office, Teaching and Learning Support

Room 313 Marie Drake Building

Juneau School District