Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), students with significant intellectual disabilities (ID) are allowed to take alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) in lieu of the standardized assessments taken by their peers, however evidence suggests that IEP teams inconsistently and sometimes inaccurately apply established participation criteria in finding students eligible to participate in AA-AAS. The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to describe the decision-making process used by Individual Education Program (IEP) teams to identify students eligible to participate in AA-AAS. Thirteen case managers of students taking the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) from central Virginia participated in in-depth interviews. The findings resulted in the Influences on the Process of AA-AAS Eligibility Decisions (IPAED) Model describing a three-phased eligibility decision-making process. Implications suggest the need for training for all IEP team members, with a particular focus on parent education and involvement.


Alternate Assessments, Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards, Decision-Making, Qualitative Research, Significant Intellectual Disabilities

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Karren Streagle is Assistant Professor of Special Education in the College of Education at Idaho State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Karren Streagle at strekarr@isu.edu.

Dr. Karen Wilson Scott is Professor of Organizational Learning and Performance in the College of Education at Idaho State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Karen Wilson Scott at, scotkare@isu.edu.

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