W.Va. to Participate in Federally Funded Project to Help Special Needs Students

October 12, 2010

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – West Virginia is one of 11 states selected to participate in a pilot project to assess learning of special needs students. The project is funded through a $22 million U.S. Department of Education General Supervision Enhancement Grant awarded to the multi-state consortium.

The Dynamic Learning Maps Alternate Assessment System Consortium includes West Virginia, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Utah and Wisconsin. The group is to be led by the University of Kansas.

“Participating in this project is an important step for West Virginia as we work to help every child achieve,” said state Superintendent Steve Paine. “All students, even those with significant challenges can learn.”

The consortium will seek to create an assessment system to support teachers in improving learning for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The project will work to develop alternate achievement standards that are aligned with Common Core State Standards for college and career readiness. The common core standards were recently developed by governors and chief state school officers and have been adopted by the District of Columbia and 35 states, including West Virginia. The tests will assess knowledge of mathematics and English language arts in grades 3-8, and one grade in high school.

A $45 million grant also was awarded to The National Center and State Collaborative Partnership, a consortium of 18 states, the District of Columbia, and several territories led by the University of Minnesota.

“Both of these winning applications provide a comprehensive approach to assessment design that will move the field forward and significantly enhance the quality of education for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities,” said Alexa Posny, assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services at the U.S. Department of Education.West Virginia is seeing better student performance on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test 2 (WESTEST2); the SAT and the ACT, college entrance exams; the job skills assessment called Work Keys given to career and technical education students; and in a high school graduation rate that exceeds the national average.

The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) is committed to ensuring all students in the state are college and career ready when they graduate from a public school. What West Virginia students are learning in school exceeds national and international standards. Through the WVDE’s 21st century learning plan called Global21: Students deserve it. The world demands it,

For more information contact the Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.

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