Alaska Joins Dynamic Learning Maps

Alaska becomes the 16th state to join the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium, a multi-state initiative developing a computer-based assessment designed to more validly measure what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do.

The DLM Consortium, led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) at the University of Kansas, now has 16 member states: Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“We are proud to join the DLM states and partners in our continuing effort to ensure that all Alaskan students have access to challenging grade-level instructional content,” said Erik McCormick, director of assessment, accountability & information management with the Alaska Department of Education & Early Development. “The opportunity to seamlessly fuse daily instruction with innovative assessments is one that we embrace.”

Once the assessment is implemented in these states during the 2014–2015 school year, it will mark the first time most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment.

The DLM Consortium is developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment, a computer-based assessment for the 1 percent of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate. Therefore, these students take an alternate assessment.

The DLM assessment system is being designed to simultaneously support teacher instruction and student learning by having assessment tasks model good instruction and by being embedded within teachers’ classroom activities throughout the school year.

“With Alaska on-board, the Consortium continues its work to develop a meaningful assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director and CETE co-director. “We welcome Alaska to the group and look forward to utilizing their expertise in the field of alternate assessment in order to better support student learning and teacher instruction.”

DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. Its $22 million grant award was the largest in KU history at that time. The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards and similar state standards in math and English language arts for the 1 percent population.

DLM is led by CETE, a nationally recognized center specializing in large-scale assessment and online test delivery systems. For more than 30 years, CETE has developed cutting-edge testing programs and technology tools including the Kansas Assessment Program, Dynamic Learning Maps, Kansas Writing Instruction and Education Tool®, Career Pathways Assessment System, Adaptive Reading Motivation Measures, and the Accessibility for Technology Enhanced Assessments project. Many of these projects involve working with multiple states. CETE has worked with the State of Kansas for three decades to provide Kansas schools with a variety of assessment services. Through its partnership with the Kansas State Department of Education, CETE offers computerized assessments to all 286 Kansas school districts using computer testing software CETE created.

July 1, 2013