Date of Award

Fall 12-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

EdD Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Education Leadership, Management and Policy


Luke J. Stedrak, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jan Furman, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Daniel Gutmore, Ph.D.


alternate assessments, Dynamic Learning Maps, Multi-State Alternate Assessments, consortiums, significant cognitive disability, alternate achievement standards


In 2001 under No Child Left Behind, states were required to create an alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities using alternate achievement standards. In 2003, all states had created an alternate assessment. All fifty states independently developed, implemented, and revised their alternate assessments. By 2014, Dynamic Learning Map (DLM) and Multi-State Alternate Assessments (MSAA) (formerly National Center and State Collaborative)––two alternate assessments developed through consortiums consisting of state departments, universities, and organizations using federal funding––were created. At the time of this study, the DLM and MSAA were used by approximately 49% of states for their alternate assessment. This study compared the DLM and MSAA in English language arts for students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades three through eight. The study focused on the DLM’s and MSAA’s measurement criterion and how they affect informational outcomes as well as how the alternate assessments are administered. The findings illustrated that the DLM and MSAA are primarily administered online to students with significant cognitive disabilities. Accessibility supports available through both alternate assessments are comparable. The DLM and MSAA may be administered on various devices, increasing their ability to individualize and accommodate to a student needs. Although there were differences in how the assessments were differentiated, the informational outcomes produced by both alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities were similar and, therefore, one alternate assessment could not be identified as superior to the other.