The One Percent Threshold for Statewide Alternate Assessments
In December 2015, the Elementary and Secondary School Act (ESEA) was reauthorized with the adoption of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaced the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). As with NCLB, ESSA regulations allow the use of alternate assessments, based on alternate achievement standards, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
All local education agencies in Delaware submit data to the Delaware Department of Education, identifying the percentage of their students at the local level participating in statewide alternate assessments. ESSA requires that no more than 1 percent of the total number of students in the state be administered alternate assessments. The goal of the 1 percent threshold federal regulations is to mitigate disproportionality concerns related to the possible over identification of students participating in statewide alternate assessments.
Districts are not prohibited from assessing more than 1 percent of their students with these alternate assessments, but are required to submit justification on the 1 Percent Threshold form demonstrating the need to assess more than 1 percent of their students with the DeSSA-Alt assessments. DDOE will collect and publicize these forms, as well as summarize for federal reporting purposes.
In addition, DDOE will provide support to LEAs related to the confirmation of student participation counts, investigating the justification for exceeding the threshold, and possible actions.
Statewide summary data will be used to meet the ESSA requirements to submit a waiver request for exceeding the 1 percent threshold for statewide participation in alternate assessments, if applicable, 90 days prior to the opening of the state’s first testing window.
Questions may be directed to the Delaware Department of Education: 302-857-3391
Waiver Request Submissions
Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by ESSA modifies the provision that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities may participate in alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards. ESSA places a 1.0 percent cap on the number of students who may participate in alternate assessments. States that anticipate exceeding the 1.0 percent cap must submit a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education.
Delaware submitted a Waiver Request on July 15, 2022 and amended August 23, 2022. The waiver was sent out for Public Comment on July 6, 2022.
USED Response - January 25, 2023 - Delaware's Waiver Request was denied as DDOE did not assess at least 95 percent of all students in science or mathematics nor did it assess at least 95 percent of students with disabilities in ELA, mathematics and science during the 2021-2022 school year.
2021-2022 New Waiver Request
Delaware submitted a new Waiver Request on January 13, 2022 to USED.
The waiver was updated 3/29/2022 to revise a typo in a date and also to add a section regarding our Public Comment period from 3/29/2022 to 4/29/2022.
Revised 4/23/2023 Companion Guide for the DeSSA-Alternate Decision-Making Tool
Based on our participation rates, Delaware is not eligible to submit for a Waiver Request for 2020-2021. The state is required to complete a Compliance Plan for Science by October 1, 2020.
States are required to demonstrate that districts exceeding the 1% cap in alternate assessment testing:
- utilize the state’s guidelines for identification and
- “will address any disproportionality in the percentage of students in any subgroup under section 1111(c)(20(A), (B), or (D) of the Act taking AA-AAAS (34 CFR 200.5(d), consistent with section 612(a)(16)(C0 of the IDEA.
This Guidance Document is meant to assist LEAs with calculating disproportionality using statistical data. When investigating disproportionality at the state and local levels, both analytical methods and contextual qualitative information must be considered.
Access to General Education Curriculum (AGEC) 7-29-2020 meeting on Disproportionality PPT handouts.
Numbers of students participating in these alternate assessments is a key area of focus as we strive to ensure only those who fully meet the participation criteria for alternate assessments in Delaware participate in alternate assessments and that local IEP team decision making meets the individualized state level assessment needs for each student.
District/Charter officials must complete and submit the justification form with local level alternate participation information. All LEAs are required to complete Parts A and B and then sign and submit the form to the state by October 21, 2022. If an LEA has exceeded the 1.0 participation requirement, they must also complete Part C of the Justification Form and will be placed on a Level 1 or Level 2 Corrective Action Plan.
- 2019 Assessment Year LEA report
- 2018 Assessment Year LEA Report
- 2023 Justification Forms for LEA Compiled
Title 1 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) [ESEA §111(b)(2)(D) and 34 CFR 200.6(c) and (d)], modifies the provision that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities may participate in alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards. To meet the requirements of Peer Review, the State must provide evidence that it monitors the implementation of guidelines for IEP teams to apply in determining, on a case-by-case basis, which students with the most significant cognitive disabilities will be assessed based on alternate academic achievement standards.