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Secretary Spellings Announces New Regulations to More Accurately Assess Students With Disabilities

Allows states to count 2.0 percent of proficient and advanced scores on alternate assessment when measuring adequate yearly progress

Washington, D.C. U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings today announced new regulations under No Child Left Behind (NCLB) allowing states to test certain students with disabilities using an alternate assessment that more appropriately aligns with students' needs and yields more meaningful results for schools and parents. The new regulations provide states and schools with greater flexibility by allowing them to more accurately evaluate these students' academic progress and tailor instruction based on individual needs.

"Through No Child Left Behind, we're continuing to raise the bar and improve the way we educate and assess students with disabilities," Secretary Spellings said. "These students are capable of achieving high academic standards, and now states and schools can be better attuned to their needs. No Child Left Behind has put the needs of students with disabilities front and center, and this regulation helps continue to drive the field forward in developing better tests for students with disabilities."

Secretary Spellings also announced that the U.S. Department of Education will provide $21.1 million in grant funds for technical assistance as states develop new assessments for these students. Today, the Department also released written guidance to states on the implementation of the new regulations, offering recommendations on issues such as how students with disabilities can be appropriately identified for this assessment.

Under the new regulations released today, states may develop modified academic achievement standards based on grade-level content, and alternate assessments based on those standards, for students with disabilities who are capable of achieving high standards but may not reach grade level in the same timeframe as their peers. States may count proficient and advanced test scores on these alternate assessments for up to 2.0 percent of all students assessed when calculating adequate yearly progress (AYP) under NCLB. These regulations build on the flexibility provided for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, which allows states to count up to 1.0 percent of proficient and advanced assessment scores based on alternate achievement standards toward AYP calculation.

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