February 2018


2018 greetings from NCEO. In this issue, a new webpage on the NCEO website is highlighted, as well as a new report on states’  alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) participation guidelines and definitions of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. Also in this issue is an update on the activities of the DIAMOND project, which is developing professional development materials, including online modules, on accessibility and accommodations. Finally, in this issue, we provide information on sessions at the annual conferences of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME).

– Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director


New Webpage on Assessment SSIPs/SIMRs

NCEO recently added a new webpage to its information on state policies. The new page provides information on those states that have selected an assessment-related State-Identified Measureable Result (SIMR) as part of their State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP). The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)-required SSIP is a comprehensive multi-year plan that states develop and report on annually to improve results for children with disabilities.

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New NCEO Report on AA-AAS Participation Guidelines and Definitions of Student with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

NCEO has published a report titled Alternate Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: Participation Guidelines and Definitions (NCEO Report 406). This report documents the status of states’ alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) participation guidelines and definitions of students with significant cognitive disabilities as of August, 2017. The report includes the factors that states indicated should and should not be considered when making decisions about participation in the AA-AAS.

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Update on NCEO’s DIAMOND Project Activities

NCEO’s DIAMOND project, a collaboration of nine states, is entering its final year. The project is an Enhanced Assessment Grant awarded to the Minnesota Department of Education. The project has completed (or is close to completing) activities designed to provide information for the development of learning modules to support educators’ understanding of accessibility features and accommodations, and how to make good decisions about them.

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NCEO Presentations at Upcoming CEC Convention

The 2018 annual convention of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) takes place February 7–10 in Tampa, Florida. NCEO staff members are presenting on several topics. For the entire list, see the article.

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NCEO at AERA and NCME Conferences

The 2018 conferences of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) are great forums for researchers and policymakers. The 2018 conferences, which are held at approximately the same time and in the same location, are being held in New York City on April 13-17. NCEO staff members will participate in both meetings.

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NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor