COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P. O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO. NO. 61
March 24, 2000

INFORMATIONAL

TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: JoLynne DeMary
Acting Superintendent of Public Instruction
SUBJECT: Participation Criteria for Alternate Assessment


 The Virginia Department of Education is required by the 1997 amendments to the 
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to develop guidelines for the 
participation of students with disabilities in alternate assessment.  The alternate 
assessment is designed for a small population of students who are unable to 
participate in the Standards of Learning assessment, even with accommodations.  The 
Virginia Alternate Assessment Program will be implemented in the 2000-2001 school 
year.  In preparation for this assessment program, school divisions are required to 
make participation decisions for individual students via the Individualized Education
Program (IEP) process.

Attached are the participation criteria that have been developed for the Virginia 
Alternate Assessment Program.  These criteria must be used by IEP teams in the 
decision-making process.  IEP decisions to participate in alternate assessment must 
be documented on the student's IEP.

The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program will be field tested in the spring of this 
year.  A list of school divisions participating in the field test is available from 
the Office of Special Education and Student Services and Division of Assessment and 
Reporting.  Based on field test results, training materials will be developed during 
the summer of 2000 and statewide teacher training will be conducted in the fall of 
2000.

Questions regarding the Virginia Alternate Assessment program should be directed to 
Dr. Patricia Burgess, Division of Assessment and Reporting, (804) 225-3026 or 
Mrs. Sharon Siler, Office of Special Education and Student Services, (804) 225-2711.

JLD:kts

Attachment