Ohio’s Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD)

Ohio’s Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) is aligned to Ohio’s Learning Standards – Extended (OLS-E) and designed to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in an appropriately rigorous assessment. The AASCD will be administered by grade level. Students in grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 will be assessed in English language arts and mathematics. Students in grades 5 and 8 will be assessed in English language arts, mathematics and science. Students taking the HS-AASCD will be assessed in English language arts, mathematics, science and social studies.

Ohio's Alternate Assessment Participation Decision-Making Tool

To guide and support individualized education program (IEP) teams in determining whether a student is most appropriately assessed with an alternate assessment, the Ohio Department of Education, in consultation with parents, teachers, administrators and other stakeholders, has developed an Alternate Assessment Participation Decision-Making Tool. This tool clarifies and set specific criteria that students must meet for each criterion in the framework. This tool is required. IEP teams must use the tool each time the team is considering participation in the alternate assessment. A Spanish version of this tool is also available.

The Department received many questions and comments about the Decision-Making Tool from stakeholders during the writing process. A Decision-Making Tool Frequently Asked Questions document was created as a supplement to the Decision-Making Tool to address those questions and concerns. 

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Family Resources

One-Page Flyer: This one-page flyer serves as a companion to family resources at Ohio’s Alternate Assessment FAQs quick link. The one-page flyer captures what families should know about alternate assessments, how IEP teams determine alternate assessment eligibility in Ohio, and provides a reminder that there is federal legislation in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that requires all students participate in statewide assessments. The goal for this document is to serve as useful guidance to IEP teams, especially parents, during special education meetings regarding alternate assessment inquiries, eligibility and participation. Versions are also available in Spanish , Somali and Gujarati.

District Resources

District Alternate Assessment Self-Reflection Guide: The Department developed the District Alternate Assessment Self-Reflection Guide as an optional resource for districts that are interested in being proactive regarding alternate assessment participation rates. This self-reflection guide is designed to support districts in the data review process to address the appropriate eligibility in the alternate assessment. Each section of the guide provides the Department’s best practices with guiding questions and resources.

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Ohio's Alternate Assessment Participation Waiver

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to ensure that the total number of students assessed in each subject using the Alternate Assessment for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD) does not exceed 1.0 percent of the total number of all students in the state who took Ohio’s State Tests. States that anticipate exceeding 1.0 percent in alternate assessment participation must submit a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education 90 days before the beginning of the alternate assessment testing window.

Ohio’s alternate assessment participation rate is 0.9% in reading, mathematics and science.

2023-2024 Waiver

2022-2023 Waiver

2021-2022 WAIVER

2020-2021 WAIVER

2019-2020 WAIVER

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District Alternate Assessment Participation

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires annually each district or community school to submit a justification when it anticipates testing more than 1.0 percent of students using the Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities (AASCD). As per the Every Student Succeeds Act, Ohio requires each district, community school, or Board of Developmental Disabilities receiving and accepting IDEA Part B funding (either IDEA Part B Special Education or IDEA Early Childhood Special Education) to respond to the alternate assessment district justification form when it anticipates or does not anticipate exceeding 1.0 percent of students assessed in a subject with the alternate assessment and complete the assurances. The Department’s district justification form and assurances are housed within the Comprehensive Continuous Improvement Plan (CCIP). More information about completing and accessing the alternate assessment district justification and assurances can be found by reviewing this document. Justification links will no longer be emailed to Superintendents.
Districts must submit their justification by April 26, 2024 within the CCIP.
A template to assist with the district justification process is available. Note that this template is only a tool to help prepare your district justification. All district justifications and assurances must be submitted via the CCIP Consolidated Application. To request a justification form submitted by a district or community school, please contact the Office for Exceptional Children or AAParticipation@education.ohio.gov.

Participation Rates:

The participation rates for school years 2020-2023 are below.

Memos to States

Department of Education Memos to States outline requirements under ESSA for 1.0% participation in alternate assessment.

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Last Modified: 4/10/2024 9:22:15 AM