Public comment sought on proposed alternate assessment participation waiver

(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education is seeking public comment on a request to the U.S. Department of Education to extend the waiver related to the number of students participating in the alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards.

The AA-AAAS is aligned with alternate academic achievement standards on the annual statewide Kentucky Summative Assessment, formerly known as the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress test.

According to federal law, no more than 1% of the total number of students participating in a statewide assessment such as the KSA may take the AA-AAAS in each subject area tested.

Eligibility data from the 2022-2023 school year shows that slightly more than 1% of Kentucky’s students were eligible to participate in AA-AAAS. Under 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4), if a state anticipates it will exceed the cap for any subject for which assessments are administered in a school year, the state may request that the U.S. secretary of education waive the cap for the relevant subject for one year. KDE plans to submit a request to extend the waiver to USED in reading, mathematics and science.

To receive an extended waiver, KDE must:

Gather data on the characteristics of students participating in the AA-AAAS;
Determine whether only those students who have significant cognitive disabilities are participating;
Monitor alternate assessment data and request justification from all districts exceeding 1% participation in any subject; and
Address any disproportionality in the percentage of students taking the alternate assessment.

As outlined in the 2022-2023 Kentucky’s 1% Waiver Request for Reading, Mathematics and Science, the KDE Office of Special Education and Early Learning (OSEEL), special education regional technical assistance centers (SERTACs) and school districts have worked collaboratively to develop and implement guidance, training and monitoring to ensure only the students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are participating in the AA-AAAS. The proposed waiver details the progress made in 2022-2023 and the 2023-2024 school year plan.

The proposed waiver is available on KDE’s website. General information on Kentucky’s AA-AAAS is available on KDE’s Alternate Kentucky Summative Assessment (AKSA) webpage.

The public comment period will be through Aug. 9. The public may send written comments on the proposed waiver to Carol Morrison, Director, Division of IDEA Monitoring and Results, Office of Special Education and Early Learning, Kentucky Department of Education, 300 Sower Blvd., Fourth Floor, Frankfort, KY 40601.

Comments also may be submitted by email to, by telephone at 502-564-4970 or by fax at 502-564-4124.

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