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Participation of Students with Disabilities

Do students with disabilities have to participate in statewide assessments?

Yes. All students in grades 3-9 are required to take the annual state assessment for English language arts and mathematics, and all students in grades 5, 8, and 11 are required to take the annual state assessment in science.

What test options are available for students with disabilities who require accommodations?

Students who are on IEPs and require accommodations to participate in the annual assessments are eligible for one of the following accommodated routes to assessment: 1) Students who need accommodations to validly and equitably access assessments in academic settings documented on their IEP should take the general assessment (Vermont Comprehensive Assessment Program; VTCAP) with accommodations, 2) Students with the most significant cognitive disabilities should take the Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA).

Students should take the assessment option that best fits their needs as a learner. The MSAA is designed to assess alternate achievement standards and is only intended to be taken by a specific subset of the student population. The VTCAP has many designated supports and accommodations that can support learners with a wide range of assessment access needs. To determine which students should take the accommodated VTCAP and which should take the MSAA, please consult the eligibility guidance document. This determination should be made collaboratively with the IEP team (including parents).

What makes the alternate assessment “alternate”?

The alternate assessment is designed to assess the same grade-level content standards as the general assessment, but with alternate achievement standards. This means that students are being tested on the same content areas, with modified expectations of how they demonstrate their proficiency in ELA, math, and science. This can include modification of the depth, breadth, and complexity of the tasks designed to measure proficiency in each grade-level content standard.