• The 1 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.


    2020-2021 Submission

    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.

    DDOE Compliance Plan for Science

    USED Notification of Compliance Plan Requirement


    2019-2020 Submission

    USED Response to Waiver Request

    DOE Waiver Request 2019

    Delaware Waiver Plan 2019-20


    2018-19 Submission

    DOE Waiver Request Approval Letter

    DOE Waiver Extension Request 2018

    Companion Guide for DeSSA-Alternate Assessment

    Calculating Disproportionality

    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.

    Guidance and Procedures for Calculating Disproportionality for the DeSSA-Alternate Assessment

    Access to General Education Curriculum (AGEC) 7-29-2020 meeting  on Disproportionality PPT handouts.

    Justification Forms

    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 and submit to the state by October 23, 2020. If there is greater than 1.0 percent participation in the DeSSA-Alt assessments, the district or charter must also complete Part B before submitting the form. 


Last Modified on October 1, 2020