The U.S. Department of Education has proposed regulations, published today, to transition away from the so-called "2 percent rule," thus emphasizing the Department’s commitment to holding all students to high standards that better prepare them for college and career. Under the existing regulations, States have been allowed to develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) for some students with disabilities and use the results of those assessments for accountability purposes under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In making accountability determinations, States currently may count as proficient scores for up to 2 percent of students in the grades assessed using the alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards.
Under the Department's proposed regulation, students with disabilities who have been taking the AA-MAAS will transition to college and career ready standards and general assessments that are aligned to those standards and accessible to all students. Research has shown that struggling students with disabilities make academic progress when provided with appropriate supports and instruction. More accessible general assessments, in combination with such supports and instruction for students with disabilities, can promote high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities, by encouraging teaching and learning to the academic achievement standards measured by the general assessments.
"We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career," said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. "That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential."
Under the proposed regulations, a State already administering alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards could no longer administer such assessments after the 2013–14 school year. The Department stands ready to provide technical assistance to States as they transition away from the 2 percent standards and assessments. The proposed regulations were published in the Federal Register on August 23, 2013 and can be viewed here.