The West Virginia Alternate Performance Task Assessment (APTA) is specifically designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities whose performance cannot be adequately assessed through the general assessment instrument, West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST 2), even with accommodations.


APTA assesses questions in three content areas: Reading/Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. A separate test was developed for each grade level in Reading/Language Arts and Mathematics (grades 3-8 and 11) and in Science (grades 4, 6, and 10). The reading/language arts content area of the test addresses the three content standards of (1) reading, (2) writing, and (3) media literacy. The mathematics content area of the test addresses the five content standards of (1) number and operations, (2) algebra, (3) geometry, (4) measurement, and (5) data analysis and probability. The science content area of the test addresses the two content standards of (1) nature and application of science and (2) content of science
APTA test items were developed by West Virginia educators and reviewed by staff of the West Virginia Department of Education Office Assessment, Accountability and Research (OAAR), the Office of Special Education and CTB/McGraw-Hill, Inc., the test publisher. Each question was examined for bias, content, difficulty, and alignment with the West Virginia Extended Academic Content Standards and Performance Descriptors as described in West Virginia Board of Education Policy 2520.16: Alternate Academic Achievement Standards for West Virginia Schools.

The West Virginia Alternate Academic Achievement Standards Policy 2520.16 provides a framework for teachers of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities to teach skills and competencies essential for independent living, employment, and postsecondary education. Policy 2520.16 links the existing content standards in reading/language arts, in math and in science with the extended standards and includes performance descriptors that are aligned with the extended standards descriptors in grades 3-8 and 11 in reading/language arts and mathematics and grades 4, 6, and 10 in science, for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and includes existing content standards, extended standards and performance descriptors as required by West Virginia Board of Education Policy 2510, Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs.

The decision-making process for participation in state assessments are stipulated in West Virginia Policy 2340: West Virginia Measures of Academic Progress, Policy 2419 and the West Virginia Guidelines for Participation in State Assessments. A student must meet specific eligibility criteria set forth within policy to be determined eligible for the APTA. Current versions of all policies are located at: http://wvde.state.wv.us/policies/

APTA Eligibility Criteria

  • The student must have a current IEP;
  • Multidisciplinary evaluation and educational performance data support the following:
    • The student exhibits significant impairment of cognitive abilities and adaptive skills to the extent that he/she requires instruction in the West Virginia Alternate Academic Achievement Standards linked to the WV 21st Century Content Standards and Objectives (CSO’s) and access skills (social, motor and communication) not directly addressed in the CSOs, but embedded in instructional standards-based activities.
    • The student cannot participate in the WESTEST 2 and other components of the WV-MAP, even with accommodations. The reasons why the student cannot participate must be clearly stated on the IEP.
    • In addition, if the student is fourteen years of age or older, and has been determined by the IEP Team that the student is unable to complete the state and county standard graduation requirements necessary to earn a standard diploma, even with extended learning opportunities and significant instructional modifications, the student will work toward a modified diploma. Please note, not all students earning a modified diploma must take the APTA; however, students working toward a standard diploma do not meet criteria for the APTA.
  • If the student meets all of the criteria, the IEP document must include a justification statement for the APTA. For additional information, see Policy 2510, Assuring the Quality of Education: Regulations for Education Programs