An Analysis of the Rise and Fall of the AA-MAS Policy

Sheryl S. Lazarus, Martha L. Thurlow, James E. Ysseldyke, Lynn M. Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

In 2005, to address concerns about students who might fall in the “gap” between the regular assessment and the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS), the U.S. Department of Education announced that states could develop alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). This article reports empirical evidence on characteristics of students participating in the AA-MAS, how students were assigned to test types, research on changes in assessment designs over a 4-year period, and changes in rates of participation and proficiency. The results suggest states and districts have struggled with how to appropriately assign students to this test option, and that there is a need to ensure this group of students has access to rigorous standards-based content. It concludes with a discussion of what can be learned from this policy attempt to resolve a very real problem as the United States moves toward the next generation of assessments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-242
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Special Education
Volume48
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 25 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The preparation of this article was supported, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G110002) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education and the University of Minnesota. It was also funded with partial support from the Multi-State GSEG Toward a Defensible AA-MAS. This project is supported by General Supervision Enhancement Grants (#H373X070021) from the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education.

Publisher Copyright:
© Hammill Institute on Disabilities 2013.

Keywords

  • AA-MAS
  • alternate assessment
  • policy
  • standard-based assessment

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