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IDEA and student participation in statewide accountability

The Reauthorizations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 1997 and 2004 require that all students with disabilities participate in statewide accountability systems. State assessments are given for the purpose of measuring school accountability. Individual test results provide information to parents and teachers about what the child knows. State assessments are aligned with the Nebraska Academic Standards.

The IEP team decides how a student with disabilities is involved in state assessments. Discussion about state assessments must take place at a student’sIEP meeting with the parent(s), present. The team must document why one assessment option is appropriate and why others are not. Decisions must be documented in the IEP regarding accommodations the student needs for success in the classroom as well as during assessment.

Several questions need to be asked in order to make an informed decision about what assessment needs to be given and what accommodations need to be provided for a student with disabilities to successfully demonstrate what he/she knows and is able to do. The IEP Team Decision Making Guidelines document is used for this purpose.

Nebraska Alternate Assessment

The NeSA Nebraska Alternate Assessment (AAS) is intended for students with severe cognitive disabilities who will be assessed against alternate achievement standards.


  • the student’s cognitive ability and adaptive behavior prevent completion of part or all of the general education curriculum;
  • AND the student requires extensive, frequent and individualized instruction in multiple settings in order to maintain or generalize skills necessary to function in school, at home, in the community, and during recreation/leisure and vocational activities;
  • AND The student’s curriculum is so individualized that the general assessment will not reflect what the student is being taught,

then the student should participate in the NeSA-AAS.

The Nebraska State Assessment defines specific accommodations to be used during test administration. If an accommodation is documented in a student’s IEP, is used on a regular basis to support the student’s education, and is an allowable accommodation, then it should be used when assessing that student. This is to allow equal access to achievement measurements not to provide an advantage for that student.