What is the DLM-AA?



    Starting in 2014-15, the academic progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities is measured from the DLM-AA rather than the SAT assessments or through the former alternate assessment tool. The new DLM is a unique computer-based assessment system that lets these students show what they know in ways that traditional multiple-choice tests cannot. It was created by the Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium, which is comprised of eighteen state departments of education and other educational agencies. Their Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) project was "guided by the core belief that all students should have access to challenging grade-level content that helps them improve their learning processes."   


    As explained by the Illinois State Board of Education, "The DLM system is designed to map a student’s learning throughout the year. The system uses items and tasks that are embedded in day-to-day instruction that are aligned to the common core standards. In this way, testing happens as part of instruction, which both informs teaching and benefits students. Eventually, an end of the year assessment will be created for states that want to include a summative test in addition to the instructionally embedded system."



    In our schools, DLM assessments will be given to students in mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA). The students do not need to prepare in any way for the assessment. The assessment process typically takes approximately one hour of total testing time in math and about 75 minutes in ELA. Parents are contacted prior to the testing window. All results are completely confidential (in accordance with the Confidential Information Protection provisions of Public Law 107-346).


    If you would like to learn more about this process and exactly what makes DLM assessments so revolutionary and important to the future of educating students with cognitive disabilities, please visit the DLM website in the Quick Links section of this page.


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