If you read this space regularly, you've read quite a lot about the Race to the Top assessment grant program. When that program began, federal officials said they intended to launch a separate grant program to design assessments for students with disabilities. Today we have news that they've awarded $67 million in grants for that work.
As in the main RTT-assessment competition, these grants went to groups of states that will work together on the new tests for students with the most significant disabilities (what's known in the field as "1 percent assessments"). These alternate tests are supposed to align with the assessments being designed to reflect the new common standards.
My colleague Christina Samuels, who covers special ed, wrote recently about how the common standards will affect students with disabilities, and noted in a recent blog item, too, that federal officials anticipate that the new tests being designed as part of the regular Race to the Top assessment competition will be used for students with less-severe cognitive disabilities.
You can read more about the Ed Department's approach to modified academic achievement standards and assessments (the 2 percent assessments) here, and more from Christina on the difficulties of designing alternate assessments for students with disabilities here.