The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System Consortium is made up of 14 states and additional partner agencies developing the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System, a computer-based assessment for the 1 percent of the K-12 public school student population with significant cognitive disabilities for whom, even with accommodations, general state assessments are not appropriate.
Led by the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, DLM is funded through a five-year-grant awarded in late 2010 by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The assessment will be implemented during the 2014-2015 school year.
The DLM Consortium is one of two multistate consortia to receive federal grants to create a next-generation alternate assessment linked to Common Core State Standards in math and English Language Arts for the 1 percent population. DLM member states are involved during every phase of DLM-AAS development.
The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System is a comprehensive assessment system being designed to support student learning and to more validly measure what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do. It will mark the first time that most students with significant cognitive disabilities are assessed using an online, computer-based, large-scale state assessment.
The DLM assessment will include a mix of test items in traditional multiple-choice formats as well as in technology-enhanced formats. When properly used, these technology-enhanced items allow student test-takers to demonstrate some aspects of cognition better than is possible with traditional items on a paper-and-pencil test. For example, items can be created to require active sorting, labeling, categorizing, or matching, not just recognition. These processes reflect typical classroom activities and will therefore increase the instructional relevance of the assessment.
DLM will use computer technology to allow students with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate what they know and can do, but with the awareness that technology has to be accessible in order for students to experience its benefits.
“Even though we are excited to use the power of computer technology as we continue development of the DLM assessment, we recognize that technology can be a barrier for some students,” said Neal Kingston, DLM project director, “We want to use the technology in a meaningful way that doesn’t cause additional barriers for students.”
Accordingly, DLM technology-enhanced items are being crafted in ways that account for the following, which guide development:
1) Some students will be able to engage in technology-enhanced items by using a mouse.
2) Some students will not be able to engage in technology-enhanced items using a mouse and might engage using touch screen technology, one- or two-switch scanning systems, or other assistive technology devices.
3) Some students, perhaps 10 percent of the approximately 1 percent who participate in alternate assessments, are operating at the pre-symbolic or pre-intentional levels, or have such significant motor challenges that they will not be able to interact with the computer at all. Therefore, DLM will provide ways for these students to access the items offline, outside of the computer-based environment, and then the teacher will enter the student’s responses into the computer.
Examples of Technology-Enhanced Items
This technology-enhanced item allows the student to sort the shapes on the left by placing them into one of two empty boxes on the right. If students cannot use a mouse to drag and drop the shapes into the boxes, the DLM testing system will allow them to answer the question by doing a “Click to Place.” This means that students could click on the shape first and then click on a box on the right, and the shape will automatically appear there. This enables students to use assistive technology devices such as one- and two-switch scanning systems if they cannot use a mouse to grab the item and move it (e.g., dragging and dropping).
This technology-enhanced item allows the student to match an image in the left column to an image in the right column. In this case, students are asked to match the whole portion of a piece of food (an orange, pizza, and an apple) with the half-portion of the food. A student could click on the image of the whole apple on the left, and then click on the image of the half of an apple on the right, and a line would automatically be drawn between the two images. This enables students to use assistive technology devices such as one- and two-switch scanning systems if they cannot use a mouse to draw the line between the images.
Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium
Center for Educational Testing & Evaluation
University of Kansas
1122 W. Campus Rd.
735 Joseph R. Pearson Hall
Lawrence, KS 66045
By following the principles of universal design during the development process, students will be able to answer the technology-enhanced items on the DLM assessment in the same manner in which they communicate in their daily lives, whether it is through use of a mouse, keyboard, touch screen or tablet technology, one- and two-switch scanning systems, and other assistive technology devices.
DLM Consortium States
Iowa • Kansas • Michigan Mississippi • Missouri
New Jersey • North Carolina Oklahoma • Utah • Vermont Virginia • Washington
West Virginia • Wisconsin
The present publication was developed under grant 84.373X100001 from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. The views expressed herein are solely those of the author(s), and no official endorsement by the U.S. Department should be inferred. The University of Kansas prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, religion, sex, national origin, age, ancestry, disability, status as a veteran, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, gender identity, gender expression and genetic information in the University’s programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Director of the Office of Institutional Opportunity and Access, IOA@ku.edu, 1246 W. Campus Road, Room 153A, Lawrence, KS, 66045, (785) 864-6414, 711 TTY.