011-10 Participation in Testing
Do IEP teams have the authority to exempt students with disabilities from participation in state assessment programs?
No. IEP teams may not exempt students from state assessment programs. Instead, they are required to determine how each student will participate in state assessments.
The Virginia Regulations, consistent with the federal regulations, require the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to:
Ensure that each local educational agency includes all children with disabilities (emphasis added) in all general Virginia Department of Education and divisionwide assessment programs, including assessments described in § 1111 of ESEA, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective IEPs and in accordance with the provisions of the Act [IDEA] at § 1412. (8 VAC 20-81-20 (4); 34 CFR §300.160). (emphasis added)
In addition, the state regulations, at 8 VAC 20-81-110 G.6, require IEP teams to include certain information regarding students’ participation in state assessments in their IEPs:
- A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations or modifications that are necessary to measure the child's academic achievement and functional performance, in accordance with the guidelines approved by the Board of Education, in the administration of state assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the child to participate in the assessment;
- If the IEP team determines that the child must take an alternate assessment instead of a particular state assessment of student achievement (or part of an assessment), a statement of:
(1) Why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment;
(2) Why the particular assessment selected is appropriate for the child, including that the child meets the criteria for the alternate assessment; and
(3) How the child's nonparticipation in the assessment will impact the child's promotion; graduation with a modified standard, standard, or advanced studies diploma; or other matters.
- A statement that the child shall participate in either a state assessment for all children that is part of the state assessment program or the state's alternate assessment;
In this regulation, "alternate assessment" means any assessment other than the standard SOL test. For any student participating in the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP), Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA), Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program (VSEP), or any Board-approved substitute test (ie. WorkKeys), therefore, such a statement, as noted in the regulation must be included.
ADDITIONAL KEY INFORMATION
- VDOE issued a SUPTS E-MAIL, September 18, 2009, regarding "Participation of Students with Disabilities in State Assessments" that provides specific guidance relative to the above Virginia Regulations and school year 2009-2010:
The Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia, revised 2009, require students with disabilities to participate in all state assessments. Beginning on the effective date of these regulations (July 7, 2009), Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams and 504 committees will no longer be allowed to exempt students with disabilities, including those students participating in the Virginia Grade Level Alternative (VGLA) and the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) from available state assessments in the content areas of reading, mathematics, science, history/social science, and writing. Although a writing assessment is not presently available for students participating in the VAAP, the development of a VAAP writing assessment will begin this year with implementation currently scheduled for 2010-2011. The Division of Student Assessment and School Improvement will recruit field test participants for the VAAP writing assessment under separate cover.
IEPs and 504 plans developed for the 2009-2010 school year do not need to be revised; however, all IEPs and 504 plans for students with disabilities developed for the 2010-2011 school year and thereafter, must comply with these regulations and reflect the student's participation in all content area assessments applicable to the grade of the student's enrollment.
- Valuable Resources: We encourage everyone to consult VDOE’s document, Procedures for the Participation of Students with Disabilities in Virginia’s Accountability System, and current manuals for the VAAP, VGLA, and VSEP.
- It may be useful to include on the IEP form all required information related to participation on state assessments. This will prompt IEP teams to address each requirement, as well as document the IEP team’s decisions. IEP team members, including parents, may wish to review VDOE’s model IEP forms for recommended language that documents this information.