Frequently Asked Questions
The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System Consortium (DLM) is a consortium that was awarded a grant by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) to develop a new alternative assessment system. DLM initially included 11 states: Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. Vermont, Virginia and Washington joined DLM after the grant award. DLM is led by The Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) and includes experts from a wide range of assessment fields as well as key partners.
As a dynamic test, the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment (DLM-AAS) will select items and tasks for a student based on that student's previous responses. In this way, the test measures more than just the skill being tested. Instead, it also measures precursor skills.
A learning map is a network of sequenced learning targets. Dynamic learning maps are designed to show not only the mastery of a single tested skill but also all the related skills that the student needs to master to get to that skill. When we typically think of learning, we think of one skill building on another single skill. A learning map, by comparison, shows a learning landscape in which multiple skills are related to many other skills. Because learning maps show multiple relationships between skills, they also illustrate more than one way to learn tested skills. Learning maps give teachers and parents a clearer view of a student's knowledge. To learn more about dynamic learning maps, see Dynamic Learning Maps.
The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment (DLM-AAS) differs from the current alternate assessments in several ways. First, DLM-AAS will be based on learning maps. Learning maps allow students to demonstrate their knowledge, even when they take alternate pathways to achieve that knowledge. These alternate pathways give students more opportunities to show that they can learn challenging content linked to the Common Core State Standards.
Second, DLM-AAS provides an instructionally embedded version that is integrated into the teaching process. This allows the teacher to know what students can do and make adjustments to instruction in real time. There will also be a stand-alone summative assessment available.
Third, DLM-AAS will incorporate instructionally relevant item types. These items will be similar to what students actually do during instruction. These item types will also utilize technology such as drag and drop, hot spots, keyword lists, numerical responses, as well as other types to be determined. These new item types will allow the rigor and challenge of the assessment to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a shared set of academic standards developed from evidence and input from teachers, parents, experts, and administrators. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers led the development process. The standards include English Language Arts and mathematics. The CCSS standards have been adopted by most states.
There are two types of assessments that are being developed for DLM. The first is a stand-alone summative assessment that is adaptive. This test will be given in the spring of the year to assess what knowledge and skills have been learned throughout the year. The second is an instructionally embedded assessment that will be given throughout the year. Regardless of which assessment is used, students, parents, and teachers will be given detailed information to help guide learning.
While most students who participate in the alternate assessment can use the computer to answer questions, some students will need additional help. Students who are capable of using assistive technology to communicate will be allowed to use that technology on the assessment. For students unable to use computers on their own, teachers can administer the test offline and enter the answers into the computer.
Field-testing of the DLM-AAS will take place in the 2014–2015 school year, with DLM-AAS ready for use in 2015–2016.
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