Alternate Assessment is available for students who have met the significant cognitive disability criteria. These students are working with the Core Content Connectors and their IEP’s indicate alternate assessment for statewide testing.
The term "significant cognitive disability" is not a category of disability. It is a designation given to a small number of students with disabilities for purposes of their participation in the state assessment program. In order for a student to qualify for alternate assessment at state and district level, they must meet all three criteria.
- Student has a disability, or disabilities, that significantly impacts cognitive function and adaptive behavior.
- The student’s instruction is aligned to the South Dakota Content Standards but is adapted to reflect the knowledge and skills in the Core Content Connectors.
- The student is unable to apply academic, life, and job skills in home, school, and community without intensive, frequent, and individualized instruction and supports in multiple setting.
- What the student needs in order to learn. In other words, the student requires extensive, repeated, individualized instruction and supports from teachers and other professionals.
- The types of materials required in order for the student to learn. Materials are significantly modified, customized, and adapted in order to facilitate understanding.
- How the student demonstrates their learning. Their need for substantial supports to achieve gains in the grade-and-age-appropriate curriculum requires substantially adapted materials and customized methods of accessing information in alternate ways to acquire, maintain, generalize, demonstrate, and transfer skills across multiple settings.
(Reference the Guidance for IEP Teams on Participation on the Alternate Assessment)
Core Content Connectors (CCCs) are Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AAAS) used for students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in the alternate assessment. CCCs guide the development of appropriate academic goals and short-term objectives that allow students the maximum engagement with the general curriculum and non-disabled peers as possible, with appropriate adaptations, simplifications, and modifications to grade-level materials and content.
The following are CCCs/AAAS aligned to South Dakota Content Standards:
The following are comprehensive lists of CCCs/AAAS:
The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) is available for students who meet the significant cognitive disability criteria, have Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals in alternate achievement standards, require extensive instruction and support to acquire and maintain skills, and have state-wide alternate assessments documented in their IEPs.
Students in grades 3-8 and 11 are tested in English Language Arts (ELA) and Math over the Core Content Connectors (CCCs).
- MSAA Sample Items
- MSAA Testing System
- MSAA Information Site
- MSAA Grades 3-11 ELA Performance Level Descriptors
- MSAA Grades 3-11 ELA Performance Level Descriptors - Spanish
- MSAA Grades 3-11 Math Performance Level Descriptors
- MSAA Grades 3-11 Math Performance Level Descriptors - Spanish
- Test Administrator User Guide
- Test Coordinator User Guide
- Test Administration Manual
- MSAA Parent Letter
- TC Observation Checklist
The SD Science Assessment-Alternate (SDSA-Alt) is available for students who meet the significant cognitive disability criteria, have Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals in alternate achievement standards, require extensive instruction and support to acquire and maintain skills, and have state-wide alternate assessments documented in their IEPs.
Students in grades 5, 8, and 11 are tested over the South Dakota Science standards. The test items cover grade spans from grades 3-5, 6-8, and high school.
- SDSA-Alt Achievement Level Descriptors Grades 3-5
- SDSA-Alt Achievement Level Descriptors Grades 6-8
- SDSA-Alt Achievement Level Descriptors High School
- SDSA-Alt 2021-22 Cut Scores
Contact the South Dakota Department of Education at (605) 773-3678 with questions.