The Department of Education Has Issued Proposed Rulemaking on Academic Achievement Standards

The Department of Education issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on August 23, 2013 concerning the “2% rule.” Comments about the NPRM are due October 7. The proposed rule would overturn a rule from 2007 which permitted states to define modified academic achievement standards for some students with disabilities, develop alternate assessments based on those standards, and use up to 2% of those the scores for school accountability purposes. Since 2007, much work has been done to create assessments that are more accessible to students with disabilities so that their progress toward meeting college and career ready standards can be accurately measured. Two federally funded consortia are designing new assessments that accommodate a broad range of learners and use the principles of Universal Design of Learning. The two consortia are: Smarter Balanced Assessments and the PARCC Assessments.

“…research has shown that low-achieving students with disabilities make academic progress when provided with appropriate supports and instruction. More accessible general assessments, in combination with such supports and instruction for students with disabilities, can promote high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities, by encouraging teaching and learning to the academic achievement standards measured by the general assessments,” NPRM p. 52468.

States would still be permitted to define alternate academic achievement standards and administer alternate assessments to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities – up to 1% of all students.

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