National Center and State Collaborative - Alternate AssessmentNCSC logo

High-quality assessments offer educators accurate and timely information about the academic achievement and growth of their students. With the help of high-quality data, educators can customize instruction to meet the needs of each student, including those with significant cognitive disabilities.

The Maine Department of Education is a Tier II partner in the National Center and State Collaborative one of two federally supported consortia developing an alternate assessment based alternate achievement standards, aligned with the Common Core State Standards that will test students' knowledge of math and English language arts. Each content target has been carefully and intentionally designed to assess performance across the expected performance continuum.


Maine schools are on track to begin using the National Center and State Collaborative Assessments during the 2014-15 academic year for eligible students in grades 3 through 8 and 11. The assessments will take the place of the Personalized Alternate Assessment Portfolio taken by students in grades 2 through 8, and the SAT taken by students in high school.

Format and Technology

Students will interact with the National Center and State Collaborative assessment in a variety of way, depending on their needs. Some will interact with the computer and the testing platform directly, with the test administrator monitoring their work. For others, their test administrator may print out materials, administer the items, and enter the student responses into the computer.

Summative Assessment

The National Center and State Collaborative assessments will satisfy the testing requirements of federal education laws. Schools will administer the assessments for those purposes during a two month window.

Instructional Resources

In addition to helping schools and states meet federal testing requirements, the National Center and State Collaborative assessment system will offer a range of optional instructional resources and professional development tools. These tools will assist educators throughout the year guide student understanding of concepts and their progress toward meeting learning standards.

The National Center and State Collaborative curriculum and instruction resources include models for progress monitoring tools and classroom assessments that will measure student progress toward meeting the Common Core State Standards over the course of an entire school year in mathematics and English language arts. The resources will be available to teachers through an online Wiki portal, along with training and tools for development of additional resources. This will help prepare students and their teachers for participation in the end of year summative assessment.

Assessment Development

Now that 45 states have adopted and are beginning to teach to a common set of standards for math and English language arts -- the Common Core State Standards -- the states are also developing common assessments to test student progress toward mastering those standards. States must also develop an alternate set of standards for those students with the most significant cognitive disabilities

The National Center and State Collaborative involves educators from 26 states in developing the various aspects of a new generation of alternate assessment tools. Representatives from the K-12 education, business and higher education sectors in the participating states are involved in the assessment development.

The work of the collaborative is funded by the U.S. Department of Education under the General Supervision Enhancement Grants program.

Visit the NCSC website for more information



Sue Nay
Alternate Assessment Coordinator