The Colorado Alternate Assessments (CoAlt) is administered to students with significant cognitive disabilities who are instructed and assessed on alternate achievement standards. A Student's IEP team makes the determination if a student qualifies for the alternate assessment following criteria provided by the Colorado Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Unit via the eligibility worksheet.
This standards-based assessment program is designed specifically for students with significant cognitive disabilities using the elements of universal design. For students who qualify to take alternate assessments, the CoAlt is an indicator of student progress toward the expanded academic standards which are linked to the Colorado Academic Standards in the content areas of English language arts, Mathematics, science and social studies. The assessment is meant to provide a picture of student performance to schools, districts, educators, parents and the community. The data should be used to keep abreast of individual student progress toward attaining achievement in the content areas.
The CoAlt is untimed and individually administered. The assessments are comprised of selected response items and modified constructed response items.
In spring of 2014, revised state science and social studies tests measuring the Colorado Academic Standards were administered for the first time. The Colorado Department of Education, testing contractor Pearson, and Colorado educators collaborated to develop these assessments, ensuring alignment to the new standards, as well as innovative ways of measuring knowledge and understanding. In accordance with the summative assessment design, the alternate assessments were administered in grades 5, 8 and 11 in science and the social studies alternate assessments were administered in grades 4 and 7 and 11.