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Alternate Assessment Monitoring

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Alternate Assessment Monitoring 2024-02-14T00:19:52-07:00

Alternate Assessment Waiver

PED Letter and Plan to USED for Monitoring the AA-AAAS Rate

Revised Waiver 12.12.2023

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires children with disabilities to participate in all general State and district-level assessments unless they cannot participate in these assessments as indicated in their individualized education programs (IEP) 20 U.S.C. §1412(a)(16)(C). The implementing regulations of IDEA requires NMPED to issue guidelines for determining who are the students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (MSCD) for participation in alternate assessments (DLM) 34 C.F.R. § 300.160(c)(1).

In August 2023, NMPED released a memo defining students identified with the most significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. NMPED Assessment Division issued a PED Alternate Assessment Flow Chart and the NM Alternate Assessment for IEP Addendum Tool. These resources are intended to assist families and IEP teams have informed conversations and make student-centered decisions.

NMPED Special Education Division (SED), beginning SY 2023-24, requires IEP teams to document the IEP decision process using SED’s Participation in Alternate Assessment and attaching, in the IEP, NM Alternate Assessment for IEP Addendum Tool. This process and documentation will be monitored by District Test Coordinators, Special Education leaders, NMPED Assessment, and Special Education Division.

In 2017, the United States Department of Education (USDE) limited the total number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed statewide Alternate Assessment (DLM) to 1% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed statewide in each of these same subject areas (ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(D)(i)(I)). New Mexico has exceeded the 1% threshold yearly for the last three years. Therefore, NMPED Assessment has developed:


Alternate Assessment 1% Participation Rates


Justification Survey and Assurances


Why is PED Monitoring?


Who receives an audit?


What is the monitoring Process?


How do districts prepare?


PED Support to districts

Alternate Assessment 1% Participation Rates

2022-23 Alternate Assessment Rates by LEA

Justification Survey and Assurances

2023-24 Alternate Assessment (1.0 Percent) LEA Justification Form

To request a justification form submitted by a district or community school, please contact the NMPED Assessment Bureau at ped.assessment@ped.nm.gov.

Why is PED Monitoring?

Starting in 2017, federal law limited the total number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who are assessed statewide with a reading/English language arts, mathematics, or science Alternate Assessment (DLM) to 1% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed statewide in each of these same subject areas (ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(D)(i)(I)). This 1% threshold raises the importance of ensuring that appropriate students participate in the Alternate Assessment (DLM), in part because of the additional requirements placed on states and districts when a state exceeds the threshold.

New Mexico has exceeded the 1% threshold and will be seeking a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for one year from the requirement to not exceed 1% participation in the Alternate Assessment (DLM). In order to submit a waiver, NMPED must provide assurances, one of which that NMPED has verified that each LEA that the state anticipates will assess more than 1% of its assessed students in any subject using an Alternate Assessment (DLM) has followed the State’s guidelines for participation.(34 CFR §200.6(c)(4)).

New Mexico has exceeded the 1% threshold yearly for the last three years. Therefore, NMPED Assessment Division has developed:

Who receives an audit?

The cornerstone of NMPED multifaceted approach is a system of support, intervention, and monitoring designed to improve application of state guidelines for participation in the Alternate Assessment for students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities.

Phase 1Phase 2Phase 3
Alternate Assessment Students predicted participation rate of <1% of students (Math, Language Arts, or Science).Alternate Assessment Students predicted participation rate of >1% and up to 2% (Math, Language Arts, or Science).Alternate Assessment Students predicted participation rate of >2% (Math, Language Arts, or Science).
All District Test Coordinators (DTCs) successfully pass the required Alternate Assessment on the/DLM 7 module training by logging into DLM’s Educator Portal.Complete all Phase 1 and Phase 2 requirements.Complete all Phase 1, Phase 2 and Phase 3 requirements.
Complete First Contact Survey accurately completed fall of each school year November 15. NMPED will review this data.LEAs identify Special Education Directors (and other LEA identified OSE staff) to take the Alternate Assessment (DLM) 7 module training. DTCs will roster SED staff.Complete Phase 3 Improvement Plan (Appendix C)
DTCs prepare to be randomly sampled for PED virtual desktop audits. DTCs present evidence of LEAs and site’s systems to identify students for DLM, the verification of the IEPs documentation of Participation in Alternate Assessment, and, when appropriate, completion of the OSE IEPs Addendum for Alternate Assessment.

 Appendix A 

OSE Website/Alternate Assessment IEP Addendum

LEAs complete Alternate Assessment Root Cause Report (Appendix B).Prepare for onsite compliance monitoring visits which include review of the OSE IEP Addendum for Alternate Assessment, and respond to recommended steps or corrective action (if provided).
Complete and submit the 1% justification survey including District Assurances to NMPED.LEA’s DTC and OSE Leader(s) present their practices, systems and next steps during a virtual audit to NMPED. 1% Phase 2 and 3 Monitoring Slide Deck

What is the monitoring Process?

New Mexico’s Alternate Assessment Monitoring and Support System includes:

  • Annually requiring justification and assurances forms and verification prior to EOY summative assessment from districts and charter schools who expect to exceed the 1.0% threshold, assessing students using the Alternate Assessment.
  • NMPED will monitor the justification forms and assurances to support LESs as they strive to meet student needs and expected national rates.
  • NMPED will monitor completion, data presented, and the accuracy of the First Contact Survey.
  • A record of LEA and charter answers on the forms are posted on the NMPED website.
  • Supporting and monitoring LEAs to ensure evidence of their implementation process and consistent use of the NM Alternate Assessment for IEP Addendum Tool for all students being considered for and placed in the DLM Assessment.
  • LEAs needs to establish systems of checks and balances to implement and monitor the use of SED Addendum for Alternate Assessment.
  • LEAs are strongly recommended to use NM Alternate Assessment for IEP Addendum Tool for each student being considered for the Alternate Assessment.
  • Monitoring LEA alignment and adherence to the definition for most significant cognitive disabilities.
  • Monitoring NMAC 6.10.7 which requires district test coordinators to develop checklists and written procedures for internal use to
    • ensure all procedures for standardized testing comply with NMPED Assessment Guidelines and
    • collaborate with appropriately licensed personnel to ensure appropriate accommodations and test placement for students with disabilities and English language learners (6.10.7.12 NMAC).
  • Provide oversight, support and corrective action for districts exceeding the 1.0% threshold.
  • Technical assistance and monitoring to LEAd to ensure student success, parent understanding and to meet state and federal requirements.
  • DTC audits which include LEAs presenting information regarding their systems and verification processes around identification of students with the MSCD who will be assessed with Alternate Assessment (DLM).
  • NMPED provides professional learning opportunities, tools, and resources (See DLM Modules and Canvas Courses).
  • District Test Coordinators (DTC) to take DLM training and pass seven modules.
  • Special Education staff, unless required by Phase 2 or 3 status, are welcome to learn more about DLM by taking the DLM training modules.
  • LEAs identified as exceeding 1% of their students tested using DLM must follow the Phase 2 or Phase 3 requirements specified in New Mexico’s Alternate Assessment Monitoring and Support Guidance Manual.
  • LEAs to use the District Data Visualization Report (Coming Soon) to examine disproportionality and systems that impact Alternate Assessment placement.

How do Districts Prepare?

PED Support to Districts

NMPED Alternate Assessment Monitoring and Support Guidance Manual

NMPED Identification of Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities & the Alternate Assessment Presentation 03/06/2023

NMPED Alternate Assessment Rates & Accommodations Manual Updates Presentation 11/16/2023

Page last updated February 14, 2024