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Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Alternate Assessments

The alternate assessments are designed for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The structure of the alternate assessments are designed around the students’ physical and cognitive disabilities in a way that allows them to answer test questions and participate in the test as independently as possible.

Students participate in state assessments in one of three ways. 

  1. The general assessment  (RICAS and the new RI Science Assessment)
  2. The general assessment with accommodations (RICAS and the new RI Science Assessment)
  3. The alternate assessments

Students eligible for alternate assessments make up approximately 1% of the student population. Beginning in 2018, Rhode Island will have two new alternate assessments: 

  1. The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) in science.
  2. The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics.

More information on the DLM alternate assessments will be posted on the tabs below and can also be found at www.dynamiclearningmaps.org.

Test Coordinator/District Administrator Information

This page will be updated as new information is available.

DLM Score Report Interpretation Guide (pdf): This document contains instructions on how to access the score reports for your district and school as well as how to read and interpret the results.

Medical Exemptions: Please use the guidance and information found on the Assessment Exemptions page to request a medical exemptions. NOTE: Outplacement schools must contact the sending district to request a medical exemption for a student; outplacement schools do not have access to this system.

Test Administrator (Teacher) Resources

This page contains important information for test administrators on preparing for and administering the DLM alternate assessments and will be updated for the 2018-19 school year as information becomes available.

    Professional Development: Instructional Modules and Webinars

    Test Administration Training for Teachers: The test administration training for DLM is conducted through online training modules. Information on how and when to access these modules will be available here in the coming months.

    Instructional PD Webinars: The Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®) professional development team will be providing four interactive webinars this fall to assist teachers with providing instruction to students that is aligned to the DLM Essential Elements in English language arts and mathematics. 

    • Each session requires participants to view two professional development modules prior to attending the webinar (links to the modules are included the PDFs below)
    • Each of the 45-minute webinars listed below will begin with a 15-minute overview of the content followed by a 30-minute live question and answer session. 
    • Each webinar will be recorded and posted online for those who are unable to attend a live session. 
    • All webinars are free to attend and will be accessible via Skype for Business or telephone. 
    • No pre-registration is necessary so please make sure you add these opportunities to your calendar.
    • Each presentation will be closed-captioned during the webinar. 
    • For the best viewing experience, please do not use Chromebooks or the Android app for Skype for Business.
    • After viewing each accompanying module, teachers will receive a Certificate of Completion. Teachers should contact their district for information on using these certificates for fulfilling continuing education credits or other professional development requirements.

    English Language Arts Webinars:

    Mathematics Webinars:

    Instructional Professional Development Modules: DLM has developed online, self-paced modules that cover a range of topics such as:

    • writing IEPs aligned to the Essential Elements;
    • understanding the Essential Elements;
    • understanding and teaching to the Common Core State Standards through the Essential Elements for ELA and mathematics;
    • understanding and teaching to the Next Generation Science Standards through the Essential Elements for science;

    Access the modules here: https://www.dlmpd.com/

    Certificates of Completion: At the end of each module, teachers will receive a certificate of completion.Teachers should contact their district for information about using these certificates for fulfilling continuing education or other certification credits or professional development requirements.

    Professional Development: Teacher Committees

    DLM Teacher Committees


    Dynamic Learning Maps, through the Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS) center, is streamlining how it reaches out for educators to participate in various alternate assessment and instructional support development opportunities. Below are the details and a link to complete the survey.


    WHO: Special educators who teach students taking the alternate assessment in public and outplacement schools, TVIs and other specialists, content area teachers (ELA, mathematics, and science), special education directors, etc.


    WHAT: The ATLAS center offers many opportunities to participate in events such as testlet development, testlet review, and score validation of writing testlets. There are a range of participation options, including paid work, that can help develop professional skill sets and in some cases provide networking opportunities with other teachers from other DLM states.


    WHEN: This depends on the project as each project will have separate timelines.


    WHERE: Depending on the project, some require in-person meetings in Kansas City, KS and some can be accomplished remotely.


    HOW: Individuals who are interested in participating in future ATLAS events should complete the short survey linked below. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. Since the information provided through the survey will be used as a pool to draw potential participants for upcoming events, the information may be used multiple times. However, please note that ATLAS staff may ask participants to complete additional surveys depending upon event needs. Project staff will contact volunteers to participate if their preferences and qualifications match the needs of a particular event. No experience is necessary in order for selection as a participant. Once ATLAS staff have identified participants, we will reach out to those individuals with more detailed information and verify that those selected are able to participate. The survey may be accessed by following this link: https://kansasedu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6DcxFBgLc5Btxc1

    QUESTIONS: Any questions may be directed to atlas-aai@ku.edu

    DLM Released Testlets and Practice Testlets

    ​Using DLM Released Testlets and Practice Testlets

    Released Testlets and Practice Activities are available in two ways:

    1.  PDF documents can be downloaded at: https://dynamiclearningmaps.org/about/tests/releasedtestlets. There are testlets available for elementary, middle, and high school grades in English language arts, mathematics, and science.  Kite Student Portal is not needed in order to use the released testlets.
    2. Through the Kite Student Portal: To access the released testlets and practice activities, follow these two steps:
      1. Install the Kite Student Portal on the testing device (or devices). Contact your district or school technology coordinator for assistance. The technology specifications and device options can be found here: https://dynamiclearningmaps.org/requirementsNOTE: This is a new version of Kite Student Portal. The old version should be removed and the new version should be installed on all testing devices prior to testing or using the released or practice testlets.
      2. Download and read Instructions for logging in. These documents provide instructions and login information for accessing the practice testlets for DLM. You can use these practice testlets with your students at any time.



    DLM Essential Elements Information

    Tested Essential Elements

    The table below includes the essential elements and learning maps, by grade and content area, for each of the essential elements included on the DLM alternate assessments. Also included are links to professional development modules to help teachers and other educators expand their instructional strategies and understanding of the essential elements. These documents and professional development modules, along with other relevant general education curriculum materials, may be used to inform instructional planning and goal-setting.







     Test Blueprint (PDF) Test Blueprint (PDF) Test Blueprint (PDF)
     PD Modules PD Modules PD Modules
    Grade 3 (PDF) Grade 3 (PDF)
    Grade 4 (PDF) Grade 4 (PDF)
    Grade 5 (PDF) Grade 5 (PDF) Grade 5 (PDF)**
    Grade 6 (PDF) Grade 6 (PDF)
    Grade 7 (PDF) Grade 7 (PDF)
    Grade 8 (PDF) Grade 8 (PDF) Grade 8 (PDF)**
    Grade 11 (PDF) Grade 11 (PDF) Grade 11 (PDF)**

    NOTE: If using these documents to inform IEP goal writing and instructional planning, use only the essential elements for the student's current grade level. For example, only the 11th grade essential elements should be used for instructional planning and goal-setting for 11th grade students. 

    **The science essential elements documents contain all of the essential elements for the elementary, middle, and high school grade bands and are not designated by grade level. Use the general education science curriculum along with these documents to make further determinations as to the most appropriate course of instruction and goal-setting for the student.

    Essential Elements for K-12

    Eligibility for the alternate assessment is a process that must happen at each annual IEP Team meeting. Criteria 2 of the eligibility criteria for the alternate assessment requires alignment between the essential elements, the student's present levels of functioning, and the IEP goals. Below are the full set of essential elements for K-12. These documents may be used for students in non-tested grades to inform instructional planning and goal-setting during years when the student is not required to participate in the alternate assessment.

    Accommodations Information for the DLM Alternate Assessments

    This page will be updated for the 2018-19 school year as information becomes available.

    Eligibility for the Alternate Assessment

    All IEPs for students with disabilities, regardless of the test they take (RICAS, SAT, NGSA, or DLM) must have their yearly goals aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) for their enrolled grade level. The DLM assessments have Essential Elements (EEs) that provide examples for how to break down the CCSS for students and can be used for intermediate goals but not for their yearly goals. If you have questions about writing IEPs, please contact David Sienko, Director, Office of Student, Community, and Academic Supports at David.Sienko@ride.ri.gov.

    Eligibility Criteria for the Alternate Assessment

    The 2018-19 Guidance for Determining Eligibility for the Alternate Assessments is for all members of a student’s IEP Team to help them determine if a student meets the three eligibility criteria. The Guidance document contains the form that IEP Team members must read and include with the student’s IEP confirming that the student meets all eligibility criteria.

    Exemptions from Testing

    ALL Rhode Island public school students — including students with disabilities and students receiving services in-state or out-of-state at outplacement special education facilities — are expected to take part in Rhode Island’s statewide assessment program.

    Students who experience a medical emergency or crisis during testing may be eligible for an exemption. RIDE defines a medical emergency as an incident involving a medical condition or injury or a crisis requiring hospitalization, clinical care, or special treatment in response to the incident. Typically, the incident prevents the student from receiving instruction and from participating in assessment for the remainder of the testing window.

    To review guidance, obtain forms, or submit an exemption for a student taking the alternate assessments, please visit the Assessment Exemptions webpage.

    1% Rule - Student Participation in the Alternate Assessment


    Test Results







    DLM Help Desk Information

    DLM Service Center: Contact the DLM Service Center with questions on the DLM website including KITE, Moodle training issues, and Educator Portal:

    Site Documents

    Documents on this site require the use of the following programs:

    DOC - Microsoft Word

    PDF - Acrobat Reader

    PPT - Microsoft PowerPoint

    XLS - Microsoft Excel