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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

This page will be updated as new information is available.

DLM Score Report Interpretation Guide (pdf): This document contains instructions on how to access the score reports for your district and school as well as how to read and interpret the results.

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; outplacement schools do not have access to this system.

Test Administrator (Teacher) Resources

This page contains important information for test administrators on preparing for and administering the DLM alternate assessments and will be updated for the 2018-19 school year as information becomes available.

    Instructional Professional Development for Teachers

    As a reminder, the MSAA and RIAA portfolio assessments are no longer be administered in Rhode Island. The 2017 administration was the last administration of these assessments. In spring, 2018, RI administered the Dynamic Learning Maps for the first time. 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 8 - May 24, 2019. 
    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

    This page will be updated for the 2018-19 school year as information becomes available.

    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 webpage.

    1% Rule: Student Participation in the Alternate Assessment

    The recent update to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) regulations established a one percent threshold, statewide, on the number of students taking alternate assessments. The one percent calculation is based on the total number of students taking a statewide assessment in any tested content area. If an LEA exceeds the one percent threshold, RIDE will work with the LEA to confirm the overall number of students taking alternate assessments, including any discrepancies in the data, and to ensure that the LEA is training IEP Team adequately and applying the eligibility criteria accurately and consistently. The ESSA regulations require local educational agencies (LEAs) to do the following:

    • Notify the Rhode Island Department of Education if the LEA believes they will exceed one percent of the total assessed student population taking alternate assessments by completing the One Percent Justification Form.
    • Ensure that parents/guardians of students with disabilities who take alternate assessments be clearly informed that their child's academic achievement will be measured on alternate achievement standards.
    • Train IEP Teams: LEAs will be expected to train IEP Teams annually on the One Percent Rule and ESSA regulations; Eligibility Criteria and decision-making procedures for determining eligibility for the alternate assessment; and the IEP Team Assurances listed on the Participation Criteria for Alternate Assessments Form (page 9) in the Guidance for Determining Eligibility for Alternate Assessments document.

    Please use the information below to ensure your LEA meets these requirements:

    Step 1: Understand the ESSA Requirements

    In order to assist LEAs in meeting the requirements of ESSA, to ensure that RIDE calculations are correct, and to ensure they are identifying students appropriately, please view the following:

    • View the webinar recording: One Percent Rule: ESSA and Alternate Assessment. This webinar was given on March 9, and explains the one percent rule, how the one percent is calculated, what current percentages are for LEAs, eligibility criteria, and what steps LEAs need to take to ensure they meet all requirements. An annotated copy of the presentation is below under Step 4.
    • Review data on percentage of students identified as eligible for alternate assessment for your LEA (pdf): RIDE calculated the percent of students identified as eligible for the alternate assessment for each LEA and for the state. Rosters for each LEA containing student information used by RIDE to calculate the percentages can be found in the District Exchange folder.

    Step 2: Ensure Accurate Data, Ensure Accurate Calculations

    To ensure accurate calculations, LEAs should take the following actions: 

    • Calculate percentage using LEA data. Even though RIDE calculated the percentage of students using the data from the Special Education Census and Enrollment Census, LEAs should make their own calculations using their own data in order to identify discrepancies. The webinar will explain how the one percent is determined so LEAs may replicate the calculations.
    • Review student information system information being transmitted to the Enrollment Census to ensure that all enrolled students have accurate information and are correctly enrolled to your LEA, including students attending outplacement schools within and outside of Rhode Island.
    • Review Special Education Census data to ensure the following number codes in the Assessment Accommodations section are correctly applied to all students:
      • 1 = without accommodation is only for students who will take RICAS, PSAT10, SAT, and NGSA.
      • 2 = with accommodations is only for students who will take RICAS, PSAT10, SAT, and NGSA with accommodations.
      • 3 = alternate assessment is only for students who will take DLM alternate assessments in ELA, mathematics, and science.
      • Grade level is accurate.

    Step 3: Notify the Rhode Island Department of Education, if necessary.

    If an LEA believes they will exceed one percent of its total assessed student population taking the alternate assessments, the LEA must provide justification for surpassing that threshold. RIDE is required to notify the U.S. Department of Education and to post this information publicly. LEAs must complete the One Percent Justification Form by March 23, 2018 if they will exceed one percent of students taking the alternate assessments for 2018.

    • NOTE: LEAs that will not exceed the one percent and Outplacement schools should not complete this form.

    Step 4: Train IEP Teams

    All LEAs, not just ones who exceed the one percent threshold, will be expected to train IEP Teams annually on ESSA and the one percent rule, the eligibility criteria and the IEP Team Assurances Form. In order to assist LEAs with this task, an annotated presentation is provided below as well as a recorded version of the presentation.

    Step 5: Ensure that Parents/Guardians are Informed

    Ensure that parents/guardians of students with disabilities who take alternate assessments be clearly informed that their child's academic achievement will be measured based on "alternate achievement standards". Parents/guardians must also be informed of any other implications, including any effects of local policies, which result from the student's participation in the alternate assessment. 

    While this is already part of RIDE's process for determining eligibility for the alternate assessments, it is important that the IEP Team Assurances Form, found in the Guidance for Determining Eligibility for the Alternate Assessments, be signed each year by a member of the IEP Team to confirm that the necessary discussions with the parents/guardians happened.

    Test Results

    STATE RESULTS FOR MSAA:

    STATE RESULTS FOR NCSC:

    STATE RESULTS FOR RIAA:

    SCORE REPORT INTERPRETATION GUIDES:

    TECHNICAL REPORTS AND MANUALS:

    RIAA ALIGNMENT STUDIES:

    DLM Help Desk Information

    DLM Service Center: Contact the DLM Service Center with questions on the DLM website including KITE, Moodle training issues, and Educator Portal:

    Site Documents

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

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    PPT - Microsoft PowerPoint

    XLS - Microsoft Excel