COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education
February 11, 2011
TO: Division Superintendents
FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction
The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has been working closely with Virginia educators and Pearson, Virginia's testing contractor, to develop the Virginia Modified Achievement Standards Test (VMAST). The VMAST is an alternate assessment in which research-based supports and simplifications are applied to existing online test items to make them more accessible to eligible students with disabilities who are instructed in grade level content but are not likely to achieve proficiency in the same time frame as their non-disabled peers. The VMAST mathematics and reading assessments will be implemented over a two year period. VMAST mathematics assessments will be implemented in grades 3- 8 and Algebra I beginning in spring 2012 followed by the VMAST reading assessments for grades 3-8 and End of Course Reading in spring 2013.
In preparation for implementation of the VMAST mathematics assessments in spring 2012, VDOE and Pearson will conduct a field test of the VMAST mathematics items from May 16, 2011 to June 24, 2011. Field testing of these items is crucial in determining the effectiveness of supports and simplifications in assisting eligible students with disabilities in demonstrating their knowledge and skills on grade level Standards of Learning content. All field test participants must be students identified as disabled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA). Students identified as disabled under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are not eligible to participate. Since student scores and school reports will not be produced for performance on the VMAST mathematics field tests, all field test participants must also participate in the state mathematics assessment identified on the students' Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
All students with disabilities enrolled in grades 3-8 or Algebra I in your division who are likely to meet the VMAST participation criteria are expected to participate. The VMAST participation criteria is available on the VDOE Web site at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/alternative_assessments/vmast_va_mod_achievement_stds_test/vmast_participation_criteria.pdf .
Division directors of testing and Special Education directors will be notified regarding field test resources and registration information under separate cover. If you have questions, please contact the student assessment staff at Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2102.