Statewide Assessment:Students with Disabilities
The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) mandate that all Minnesota students, including students with disabilities, participate in statewide assessments in the areas of reading and mathematics using the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA-II) or an appropriate alternate assessment. An alternate assessment is designed exclusively for use with students who receive special education services and is a way for states to measure the achievement of these students based on alternate achievement standards.
Manual on Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
The Minnesota Department of Education has provided grant funds to the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the University of Minnesota to develop the Minnesota Manual of Accommodations for Students with Disabilities in Instruction and Assessment. This manual is a resource for individual education program (IEP) teams to use in determining the need for, and relationship between, accommodations used in instruction and in assessment.
NCEO has also developed a Training Guide as a companion to the manual to help schools and others use the manual effectively. NCEO has also developed a presentation for school personnel to support face-to-face training on accommodations. Use the links under Offsite Resources on this page to view the manual,training guide and presentation on the NCEO website.
Minnesota Alternate Assessments
Minnesota provides an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards, the Minnesota Test of Academic Skills (MTAS), for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. MDE is developing a second alternate assessment, the MCA-Modified, which is based on modified achievement standards. For more information about these assessments, visit the Testing section of our website.
Determinations about how an individual student with a disability will participate in statewide testing must be made by the Individual Education Program (IEP) team. The decisions are documented on the student’s IEP and address a variety of test purposes such as accountability, requirements for granting a diploma and, as needed, English Language Learner assessments. The IEP Team Guides to Statewide Assessments listed below summarize the decisions to be documented on the IEP and provide information on the appropriate alternate assessment to be used based on the test purpose.