National Alternate Assessment Center at UNC Charlotte

The Alternate Assessment and Alignment research project (#H324U040001) is a part of the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC), which is funded by The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) (and is conducted collaboratively with the University of Kentucky and the National Center on Educational Outcomes, NCEO). The purpose of the research is to address some of the complex issues which have emerged as states have developed alternate assessments. This research builds on our prior work on alternate assessment from US-funded project Evaluation of Emerging Alternate Assessment Practices (H324C010040). Our work from this prior project can be found under the Publications link to the left.

To date, we have conducted six alignment studies with state alternate assessment systems. Reports from each of these studies can be found on our publication page to the left. These studies were based upon the Links for Academic Learning (LAL), an alignment model specifically designed by us to address the unique issues present in an alternate assessment system. A conceptual foundation for the LAL can be found in the following reference:

&  Browder, D. M., Wakeman, S. Y., Flowers, C., Rickelman, R., Pugalee. D., & Karvonen, M. (2007).
          Creating access to the general curriculum with links to grade-level content for students with significant cognitive disabilities: An explication of the concept. Journal of Special Education, 41,

The LAL manual is available on the Publications page as well as on the NCEO and NAAC websites for downloading.

&  Flowers, C., Wakeman, S. Y., Browder, D. M., & Karvonen, M.(2007). Links for Academic Learning:
          An alignment protocol for alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards.
          Charlotte, NC: National Alternate Assessment Center, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

We have also conducted a series of studies related to our development of the Curriculum Indicators Survey (CIS). This survey was designed to capture the enacted curriculum for students with significant cognitive disabilities as reported by their classroom teachers. Work is ongoing related to the validation of the instrument. The following are the references related to the CIS.

& Karvonen, M., Wakeman, S. Y., Flowers, C., & Browder, D. M. (2007). Measuring the enacted curriculum
          for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 33(1), 29-38.

& Karvonen, M., Wakeman, S. Y., Flowers, C., & Browder, D. M. (2007, April). Validation studies on the
         Curriculum Indicators Survey: Preliminary results. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American
         Educational Research Association, Chicago, IL.

 & Karvonen, M., Wakeman, S. Y., Smith, M. A., Flowers, C., & Browder, D. M. (2008). Academic curriculum
         for students with significant cognitive disabilities: Evidence from five states. Manuscript in preparation.

The focus for 2008-2009 shifted from studying the alignment of  AA-AAS to conducting research regarding the alignment of instruction to the academic content standards. As the need to support teachers in this area has become evident, the NAAC at UNCC focused on creating and implementing alignment tools and interventions for practitioners within the content area of English Language Arts. A pilot study with teachers and students was conducted during this time period which will be examined and refined the tools and processes identified by the research team. This study worked in partnership with Project Mastery, which has a focus on math and science. 

Additional activities in progress for 2009-2010 are:

& Professional development focused on alignment, UDL, ELA, math, and science instruction for students participating in the 1% assessment.

& ELA lessons aligned to middle school ELA standards

A Proud Partner of  The National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC)

General Curriculum Projects Office

Special Education & Child Development Department
College of Education Building
9201 University City Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28223-0001

Phone: (704) 687-8492
Fax: (704) 687-2916

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