Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Alternate Assessments

The alternate assessments are designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The structure of the alternate assessments are designed around the students’ physical and cognitive disabilities in a way that allows them to answer test questions and participate in the test as independently as possible.

Students participate in state assessments in one of three ways. 

  1. The general assessment  (RICAS and the new RI Science Assessment)
  2. The general assessment with accommodations (RICAS and the new RI Science Assessment)
  3. The alternate assessments

Students eligible for alternate assessments make up approximately 1% of the student population. Beginning in 2018, Rhode Island will have two new alternate assessments: 

  1. The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) in science.
  2. The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.

More information on the DLM alternate assessments will be posted on the tabs below and can also be found at www.dynamiclearningmaps.org.

Test Coordinator/District Administrator Information

2018 Test Coordinator Handbook (pdf): This handbook contains snapshots of each assessment in the Rhode Island Statewide Assessment Program. It includes dates, contact information, and other important details about each assessment being administered in Rhode Island during the 2017-18 school year.

Training for District Test Coordinators, Special Education Directors, and any other district staff involved in preparing for or administering the DLM alternate assessments may view the online training modules on the DLM website and the documents listed below: http://www.dynamiclearningmaps.org/district-staff-training-resources-ye.

Training for District Data Managers and Technology Coordinators will need to view the following online training modules and download the two documents listed below: http://www.dynamiclearningmaps.org/district-staff-training-resources-y.

Medical Exemptions: Please use the guidance and information found on the Assessment Exemptions page to request a medical exemptions. NOTE: Outplacement schools must contact the sending district to request a medical exemption for a student; ouplacement schools do not have access to this system.


Instructional Professional Development for Teachers

The MSAA and RIAA portfolio assessments will no longer be administered in Rhode Island. The 2017 administration was the last administration of these assessments. Final district, school, and student reports were mailed to districts in September, 2017. Please contact your district office for copies of these reports. The basics on DLM (www.dynamiclearningmaps.org):

  1. The Test Window for DLM English language arts and mathematics assessments, in grades 3-8 and 11, from April - May, 2018. 
  2. The DLM assessments are aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) through the learning maps and Essential Elements (EEs). 
  3. The assessments are adaptive, meaning that as a student responds to a set of test items (called “testlets”), the difficulty of the next testlet will change. Each testlet has 5-7 items. Answers must be entered for the student after each testlet is complete.
  4. Training for DLM assessments will be through online modules. Test Administrators will have to pass each end-of-module test before being able to take the next module. 
  5. Instructional Professional Development Modules: DLM developed online, self-paced modules that cover a range of topics such as: 
  • writing IEPs aligned to the Essential Elements; 
  • understanding the Essential Elements; 
  • understanding and teaching to the Common Core State Standards through the Essential Elements for ELA and mathematics; 
  • understanding and teaching to the Next Generation Science Standards through the Essential Elements for science 
  • Instructions on how to access these professional development modules on the DLM site can be found here: Accessing Instructional Professional Development Modules (pdf)

Accommodations Information for the DLM Alternate Assessments

The following documents can also be found on the Dynamic Learning Maps website at www.dynamiclearningmaps.org 

Eligibility for the Alternate Assessment

All IEPs for students with disabilities, regardless of the test they take (RICAS or DLM) must have their yearly goals aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for their enrolled grade level. The DLM assessments have Essential Elements (EEs) that provide examples for how to break down the CCSS for students and can be used for intermediate goals but not for their yearly goals. If you have questions about writing IEPs, please contact David Sienko, Director, Office of Student, Community, and Academic Supports at David.Sienko@ride.ri.gov.

Eligibility Criteria for the Alternate Assessment

The 2017-18 Guidance for Determining Eligibility for the Alternate Assessments is for all members of a student’s IEP Team to help them determine if a student meets the three eligibility criteria. The Guidance document contains the form that IEP Team members must read and include with the student’s IEP confirming that the student meets all eligibility criteria.

2017-18 Guidance for Determining Eligibility for the Alternate Assessments

Exemptions from Testing

ALL Rhode Island public school students — including students with disabilities and students receiving services in-state or out-of-state at outplacement special education facilities — are expected to take part in Rhode Island’s statewide assessment program.

    Students who experience a medical emergency or crisis during testing may be eligible for an exemption. RIDE defines a medical emergency as an incident involving a medical condition or injury or a crisis requiring hospitalization, clinical care, or special treatment in response to the incident. Typically, the incident prevents the student from receiving instruction and from participating in assessment for the remainder of the testing window.

To review guidance, obtain forms, or submit an exemption for a student taking the alternate assessments, please visit the

Assessment Exemptions

page of our website.

1% Rule: Student Participation in the Alternate Assessment

Information will be posted soon.

Test Results







Site Documents

Documents on this site require the use of the following programs:

DOC - Microsoft Word

PDF - Acrobat Reader

PPT - Microsoft PowerPoint

XLS - Microsoft Excel