Superintendent’s Memo #261-12

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

September 21, 2012

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT:  Two-Year Use of the Virginia Modified Achievement Standards Tests (VMAST)

Over the past five years, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has worked closely with Virginia educators and Pearson, Virginia's testing contractor, to develop the Virginia Modified Achievement Standards Test (VMAST) for grades 3 through 8 mathematics and Algebra I and for grades 3 through 8 reading and end-of-course reading.  These assessments are the result of a comprehensive research effort that showcases a critical bridge between instructional and assessment practices by incorporating research-based supports and simplifications traditionally used in the classroom into the design of online assessment items.  The VMAST is specifically designed to make online assessment items 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.

In order to comply with the requirements associated with the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver, Virginia had to agree to discontinue the use of the VMAST mathematics and reading assessments after the 2013-2014 school year in its waiver application.  Because of this requirement, the VMAST assessments will only be available to eligible students with disabilities during the 2012-2013 and 2013-14 school years.  Beginning in 2014-2015, the VMAST will no longer be available as a separate alternate assessment.  The VDOE is committed, however, to establishing future opportunities to incorporate research-based supports and simplifications such as those developed for the VMAST reading and mathematics assessments into the Virginia assessment program.  More information about plans for incorporating such supports will be provided to school divisions as they become available.

If you have questions regarding use of the VMAST reading and mathematics assessments, please contact the student assessment staff at Student_Assessment@doe.virginia.gov or (804) 225-2102.

PIW/SLR/cd