Mississippi is required under the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) to provide high-quality alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities (SCD). These alternate assessments must be aligned to academic content standards that apply to all students in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and once in high school. They must also align to content standards for Science in at least one grade in each of the 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12 grade ranges.
Even when administered with accommodations, general assessments do not provide students with significant cognitive disabilities the opportunities to demonstrate their abilities. Alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) are designed to measure the knowledge and skills of these students in the respective content areas.
State testing for students with significant cognitive disabilities changed during the 2016-17 school year. Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) were replaced by the Mississippi Academic Assessment Program-Alternate (MAAP-A). Similar to MAAP, MAAP-A is developed by Questar Assessment, Inc. and Mississippi educators. DLM Essential Elements are used as the standards for English Language Arts and Math. Mississippi Extended Science Frameworks (MESF) are used for the science alternate assessments.