The Alternate Assessments (RIAA & NCSC)

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 (NECAP/PARCC)
  2. The general assessment with accommodations (NECAP/PARCC)
  3. The alternate assessments (RIAA/NCSC)

While students eligible for alternate assessments make up approximately 1% of the student population, they are an important part of our student community. Rhode Island has two alternate assessments:

  1. The Rhode Island Alternate Assessment (RIAA) in science.
  2. The National Center and State Consortium (NCSC) in ELA, writing, and mathematics.
More information on the RIAA, NCSC, and the standards can be found by clicking the on the tabs and links below.

To join the RIAA list-serv to receive announcements and updates, please download and then fill out this form and click "Submit by Email" (the submit button may not work when completed within your Internet browser).  If you have questions about the form, please contact Heather Heineke at

The 2013-14 was a transition year to the National Center and State Consortium (NCSC) Alternate Assessment. This fall, many of our students will participate in the second pilot test for the NCSC Alternate Assessment that begins in October. The RIAA for Science, will follow the regular scheduled with test administration beginning at the end of September and continuing throughout the year. The RIAA is based on Alternate Assessment Grade Span Expectations (AAGSEs) in science that are an extension of the NECAP Grade Span Expectations (GSEs).

The RIAA assesses academic knowledge and skills with a portfolio assessment that is completed by teachers throughout the year. This assessment is designed for the unique needs of students with moderate, severe, and profound disabilities. Teachers collect data and student work in science in grades 4, 8, or 11 to assess a student’s progress, accuracy, and independence.

The NCSC is aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Because of these students’ unique needs, the Core Content Connectors (CCCs) were developed to guide test development and alignment to the CCSS. While the CCCs break the Common Core Standards into smaller, more manageable chunks for students, they are not a downward extension like the previous AAGSEs were. The NCSC includes grade-level concepts but at a very simplified level that includes many supports, modified materials, and accommodations.

Note on IEPs: All IEPs for students with disabilities, regardless of the test they take (either the NECAP/PARCC or NCSC Alternate Assessment) must have their yearly goals aligned to the Common Core State Standards for their enrolled grade level. For students taking the alternate assessments, this will be challenging. The Core Content Connectors (CCCs) are a good place to begin to look at how the CCSS can be “chunked” for students and can be used for intermediate goals but not for their yearly goals. If you have more questions about writing IEPs, please contact Barrie Grossi, Office of Student, Community, and Academic Supports at

Test Type Portfolio On-demand with flexibility in when the test is delivered and how many items are presented.
Grade Levels 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 10, 11 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11 (no gr. 2 or gr. 10)
Timing Year-long Month-long in Spring
Standards AAGSEs: standards are “spanned” or cross several grade levels. CCSS: Different standards at each grade level.
Eligibility Remains the same
Teacher time Demanding: Develop assessment activities, write narratives for entry into online system. Lighter: some preparation for accommodations and materials for each item based on individual student needs.
Scoring Teacher scores assessment activities and records data. Scoring of completed portfolio handled by Measured Progress. Teacher will score some constructed response items. Multiple choice items will be scored by computer.
Test Results Highly individualized content and activities made valid group comparisons difficult since students are assessed on different standards Standardized content with adaptations and accommodations will make group comparisons easier since students will be assessed on the same content but at different levels of complexity.

Content Areas (Grades Tested)

ELA, Mathematics (3-8, 11) Science (4, 8, 11)

Test Administration Dates


NCSC Pilot Test 1:
April 14 - May 23, 2014


NCSC Pilot Test 2:
Oct. 20 - Nov. 14, 2014

NCSC Operational:
Spring 2015
Exact dates TBD.

Collection Period 1:
Assessment: Sept. 29- Nov. 14, 2014
Wrap-Up & Administrative Review: Nov. 14 - Dec. 12, 2014
ProFile locks at midnight on December 12, 2014.

Collection Period 2:
Assessment: Jan. 5 - Feb. 6, 2015
Wrap-Up & Administrative Review: Feb. 6 - Feb. 27, 2015
ProFile locks at midnight on February 27, 2015.

Collection Period 3:
Assessment: March 2 - April 3, 2015
Wrap-Up & Administrative Review: April 3 - May 1, 2015
ProFile locks at midnight on May 1, 2015.

Datafolios ship to Measured Progress on May 1, 2015.


Teacher and Administrator Training for NCSC Pilot Test 2:
For Pilot Test 1, self-paced online modules were required for all teachers administering the pilot test as was taking a final quiz before accessing the test or any other materials. For Pilot Test 2, updated modules and final quiz are available but I will also host two in-person training sessions that can take the place of the online training. The final quiz must be taken regardless of which training option a teacher chooses. You cannot participate in these training sessions if you do not commit to testing at least one student.
  • Option 1:  Online Training Modules are available beginning September 26th.
  • Option 2:  In-Person NCSC Training Sessions:
    • When: 9:00 – 3:00 on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 OR
      9:00 – 3:00 on Wednesday, October 15, 2014
    • Where: Northern Rhode Island Collaborative
      640 George Washington Highway
      Lincoln, RI
    • Teacher/Administrator Registration: Will be sent out via the RIAA listserv.
Teacher Training for RIAA Science:
The RIAA for Science will be given to students in grades 4, 8, and 11 for the 2014-15 school year. Over the summer considerable updates have been made to ProFile in an attempt to make it easier for you to navigate and to add your narratives and data. We hope that these changes will reduce entry errors and streamline the process for entering data and narratives. All teachers who have students in grades 4, 8, or 11 should attend one of the trainings listed below for RIAA Science (i.e., there are no “updates” or “intro” sessions this year).
  • When: 8:30 – 3:00 on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 OR
    8:30 – 3:00 on Wednesday, September 24, 2014
  • Where: Northern Rhode Island Collaborative (NOTE the change in location!)
    640 George Washington Highway
    Lincoln, RI
  • Teacher Registration:

Test Administration Manual

  • 2014-15 Test Administration Manual (Teacher) will be posted soon.


  • ProFile Login: ProFile will be open for the 2014-15 school year beginning September 15.
    When you click on Secure Log In you will be prompted for your username and password. If you are a first-time user, we strongly recommend that you launch the User Manual and follow the Getting Started steps to register. 
    Note: Handwritten datafolios will not be accepted for scoring. All datafolios must be completed through the ProFile system.
  • Student Work Product Labels [PDF, 16KB]
  • Instructions for Administrators and Teachers to Access RIAA Datafolios (2012-13) [PDF, 1MB]
  • For test administration dates, please check the Calendar tab.


Common Core State Standards and Core Content Connectors

Pilot Test Information

The purpose of the NCSC Pilot Test 1 is to ensure the following:
  1. The test items that were developed measure the reading, writing, and mathematics content they are intended to.
  2. The accommodations allowable for each subject area are appropriate for students with severe disabilities
  3. The ancillary materials and tactile representations are appropriate for all students taking this assessment, regardless of their disabilities.
  4. The computer delivery system works appropriately
Additional Resources:

Technology Information

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the National Center and State Collaborative?
  • Who is eligible for the Phase 1 Pilot Test?
  • Will students chosen for the NCSC alt continue to take the RIAA?
  • What is the Phase 1 Pilot Test?
  • What is the Phase 1 Pilot Test design?
  • Test Administration
  • Sampling
  • Test Accommodations and Personal Needs Profile
  • Test Administrator Training
  • Preparing for the Pilot Test:
  • Results from the Pilot Test
  • If You Have Questions...

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