The academic progress of students with significant cognitive disabilities is measured via the Dynamic Learning Maps Alternative Assessments (DLM-AA). The DLM-AA is a computer-based assessment system that lets students show what they know in ways that traditional tests cannot. It was created by the Dynamic Learning Maps Consortium, which is composed of 18 state departments of education and other educational agencies. Their work is guided by the core belief that "all students should have access to challenging grade-level content that helps them improve their learning processes."
Below is how the Illinois State Board of Education describes DLM.
"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 and aligned with 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 are given to students in mathematics and English language arts (ELA). The assessment process takes approximately one hour for math and 75 minutes for ELA. Students do not need to prepare for the assessment, and parents/guardians are provided with pertinent information about it prior to the testing window. All results are completely confidential.