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The Missouri Assessment Program-Alternate Assessment (MAP-A) is administered to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who meet grade level and eligibility criteria that are determined by the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team using DESE-established eligibility criteria. No student may be tested outside of his or her assigned grade level.

If the MAP-A assessment is given to more than 1% of the total tested population (per content area), the district must provide justification for exceeding the 1% participation rule for Special Education Compliance monitoring purposes.

The MAP-A achievement standards are aligned with Missouri's Learning Standards, and students who take the MAP-A Assessment do not participate in Grade-Level, End-of-Course, or the ACT Assessments. MAP-A uses the Dynamic Learning Map (DLM®) instructionally embedded assessment model.

The MAP-A is administered by educators in three content areas:

  • English language arts in grades 3-8 and 11
  • Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11
  • Science in grades 5, 8 and 11

NOTE: Districts may wish to also administer the MAP-A ELA and Math assessments to students in grade 9, 10, and 12, and the Science assessment in grades 3, 4, 6, 7, 9, 10, and 12 for local assessment use. Please refer to Form EWord Document.

The Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®) alternate assessment project offers an innovative way for all students with significant cognitive disabilities to demonstrate their learning throughout the school year via the DLM Alternate Assessment System (see http://www.dynamiclearningmaps.org). By integrating assessment with instruction during the year and providing a year-end assessment, the DLM system maps student learning aligned with college and career readiness standards in English language arts, mathematics, and science.

The DLM system is accessible by students with significant cognitive disabilities, including those who also have hearing or visual disabilities, and/or neuromuscular, orthopedic, or other motor disabilities. Assessments produced by the DLM consortium are flexible. They allow for the use of common assistive technologies in addition to keyboard and mouse and touch-screen technology.

Important Dates

Dates Event
September 21, 2016 to February 28, 2017 Instructionally Embedded Assessments Window
March 27, 2017 to May 19, 2017 Spring Assessment Window
Resource Description
ELA Familiar Texts Webpage with links to familiar texts that will be used in 2014–15 assessments. Texts may be downloaded and used in instruction.
ELA Materials Collections for Spring 2017 A list of common ELA materials by grade, including materials to use with alternate test forms for students with visual impairments
Math Glossary Summarizes the terms used in mathematics assessments
Mathematics Materials Collections for Spring 2017 A list of common mathematics materials by grade for the spring testing window
Score Reporting Guide A guide that explains the individual student score reports and group results provided by Dynamic Learning Maps to local administrators such as principals and superintendents.
Technical Requirements KITE Suite Requirements: screens, platforms and browsers.
Writing Testlet FAQ A list of common questions regarding DLM writing testlets and their answers
Writing Testlet Video A video walkthrough of DLM writing testlets

Eligibility Criteria

All students who meet the Eligibility Criteria for the MAP-A should be given the MAP-A. The Eligibility Criteria was last updated in early 2013

Eligibility FAQ

Q: If a student was previously MAP-A and now no longer eligible, what do we do?
A: The IEP team can change the eligibility determination if the team believes that the student is not eligible for the MAP‐A based upon an analysis of the criteria. The IEP team will need to focus on how the student will access the general education curriculum in order to be able to participate in the regular assessment of that curriculum. The IEP team will need to carefully consider accommodations/modifications as well as supplementary aids and services to allow access to the general education curriculum. In addition, the IEP team will need to consider what accommodations the student will require when taking the regular assessment.

Q: The old version of the MAP‐A Eligibility Checklist refers to “significant cognitive disabilities” and the current resources talk about “most significant cognitive disabilities”. Why has this changed?
A: The requirement that ALL students must be accountable in state and district assessments beginning in 2000 was first introduced with the 1997 reauthorization of IDEA. Missouri, like the other states, developed an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards, as well as guidance for participation in the new alternate assessment. Beginning in 2003, federal regulations related to IDEA and ESEA began using the term “the most significant cognitive disabilities, and in August 2005, NCLB guidance was published entitled “Alternate Achievement Standards for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities”. The updated checklist, new flowchart, and guidance document provided with this webinar are consistent with current federal guidance for IDEA, ESEA and NCLB.

Q: Is there an IQ cutoff for eligibility?
A:  When determining eligibility for participation in the MAP‐A there is no specific IQ cut‐off for “most significant cognitive disability". The IEP team will need to determine the impact of IQ information for each individual student along with the other criteria for eligibility.   

Q: What is a standard score that is considered significantly below non‐disabled peers?
A: There is no “magic” number for this determination. The IEP team makes this decision for each student based on a careful analysis of a variety of factors. The standard scores are only one factor that must be considered. Levels of support and adaptive behavior must also be factored into the decision for each student.

Q: If a child is so profoundly disabled cognitively and physically that they could not complete even the lowest level questions on the MAP‐A, could they be exempted from the MAP‐A and use an alternative type of evaluation?
A: There is no “alternate” to the alternate assessment. The student either takes the regular assessment of the general education curriculum or the alternate assessment of the alternate achievement standards. In Missouri, the regular assessment is the Grade‐Level and End‐of‐Course Assessments, and the alternate assessment is the MAP‐A. There is no exemption due to profound intellectual disabilities.

Q: If the IEP team makes the determination that the student no longer qualifies for MAP‐A, will a Notice of Action need to be provided to the parent?
A: No. The Department’s original guidance in March 2008 for provision of prior written notice did include this particular situation; however, an OSEP Guidance Letter dated August 15, 2008 and a discussion with OSEP staff in September 2008 provided further clarification that changed the original guidance. A SELS message dated September 17, 2008 states no prior written notice is required when changing a student from the alternate to the regular assessment or vice versa.

Manual Description Updated
Accessibility Manual Provides guidance on the selection and use of accessibility features 09/26/16
Assessment Coordinator Manual Supports Assessment Coordinators in preparing district and school staff for testing 09/27/16
Data Management Manual Supports data managers with managing user, student, and roster data in Educator Portal 03/03/17
Educator Portal User Guide  Provides guidance and support for users navigating Educator Portal 02/02/17
Facilitator Guide for Required Test Administrator Training Supports facilitators in accessing DLM required test administration training and support resources 10/10/16
Guide to Required Test Administrator Training Helps users access DLM required test administration training 10/10/16
Guide to Practice Activities & Released Testlets IM Provides teachers a preview of the testlet format and sample questions. 11/01/16
Technology Specifications Manual Supports technology personnel in preparing schools for the technology needs of the DLM assessment 08/01/16
Test Administration Manual Supports Test Administrators in preparing themselves and students for the DLM assessment 11/09/16


Similar to a blueprint for a building, a test blueprint serves as a guide for test construction, content areas covered, and number of possible items to be given to guide educators’ instruction on the Essential Elements.

Blueprint Description
English Language Arts English Language Arts Blueprint
Mathematics Mathematics Blueprint
Science Science Blueprint

Essential Elements

Subject Essential Elements
ELA ELA Guidebook for Essential Elements
ELA Standards Crosswalk to Essential Elements for 2016-17
ELA Essential Elements for 2016-17
ELA Essential Elements by Conceptual Area
Math Math Guidebook for Essential Elements
Math Standards Crosswalk to Essential Elements for 2016-17
Math Essential Elements for 2016-17
Math Essential Elements by Conceptual Area
Science Science Guidebook for Essential Elements
Science Essential Elements

Information for Parents

Resource Description
Learning Map A map that shows different paths a student might take to learn new academic skills
Parent Brochure A two page brochure with high level information about DLM for parents
Parent Interpretive Guide (2015-16) A document to help parents understand their child's performance and learning profile
Parent Notification Letter with Science Letter to inform parents that their child will be participating in the alternate assessment
Parent Notification Letter with Science Español Letter to inform parents that their child will be participating in the alternate assessment - translated into Spanish

Released ELA and Math Testlets 

Released Science Testlets 

Testlets assess a variety of Essential Elements and linkage levels, in English language arts and mathematics, from grade 3 through high school
Score Reporting Guide A guide that explains the individual student score reports and group results provided by Dynamic Learning Maps to local administrators such as principals and superintendents.

Other Resources

Resource Notes
Foundational Maps The Foundational Area Of The Learning Map
Guide To Foundational Maps Guide To The Foundational Area Of The Learning Map
MAP-A Quick Start Guide A recommended list of tasks to be completed by school districts that will be administering MAP-A.
Test Administration Observation Research Protocol A form to complete when observing students being given testlets to submit to DLM for adding to the research base.
2017-18 External Review of Science Testlets The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment Consortium is seeking educators from its partner science states to review testlets for the new assessments. People with science expertise are especially needed.
Resource Description
Facilitator Guide for Required Test Administrator Training  Supports facilitators in accessing DLM required test administration training and support resources.
Guide For Test Administrator Training Helps users access DLM required test administration training
Training Webinars, Flyers and FAQs Supports District Staff, Data Managers, Assessment Coordinators and Technology Directors.

Training Videos

Training Video Topics: Getting Started in Educator Portal, View Student Usernames and Passwords, TIPs in Educator Portal, EP – Using the Instructional Tools Interface, About the DLM System, Writing Testlet, Overview of Instructionally Embedded Assessments, Part 1, Using the Instructional Tools Interface, Part 2, Personal Learning Profile Training, English Language Arts Testlet Overview, Mathematics Testlet Overview, More about Initial Precursor Items, Verifying Student Data for Teachers, Validating Rosters for Teachers, Accessibility in Dynamic Learning Maps® Assessments.  http://www.dynamiclearningmaps.org/erp/videos#WritingTestletVideo


DLM Professional Development Webpage 
Modules Check-off Sheet