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One Percent Rule: Student Participation in Alternate Assessment

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) established a one percent threshold, statewide, on the number of students taking alternate assessments.

Under ESSA, state participation of students on the alternate assessment may not exceed 1% of the tested students on all assessments within each subject area (English language arts, mathematics, and science). States exceeding the 1% cap may submit a request for a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education; however, states must also develop a plan to work with districts to meet the 1% cap.  

The tabs below contain information for districts on understanding the 1% cap and what is required of both RIDE and each district exceeding the 1% threshold.

RI Waiver Extension Request and Public Comment Survey

RIDE Seeks Public Comment on Waiver Extension for Alternate Assessment

UPDATE: Due to the cancellation of state assessments, the 1% waiver extension process was suspended by the US DOE. RIDE intends to continue working with districts on their Action Plans and providing technical assistance that may be needed as districts continue to work on their processes for making eligibility decisions. 

The waiver extension that was submitted is posted below along with an FAQ. Additional information on the One Percent Rule can be found using the tabs on this page.


Understand the ESSA Requirements (webinars and presentations)

Understand ESSA and the One Percent Rule

Participation of students on the alternate assessments may not exceed 1% of all students tested on all assessments in each content area. States exceeding 1% may submit a waiver to the US Department of Education to test more than 1%, however states must also develop a plan to work with LEAs to meet the 1% threshold. As part of this process, LEAs exceeding 1% participation in DLM in any content area must submit an Assurances Form and develop an action plan.

2019-20 Presentations and Guidance

2018-19 Presentations and Guidance: The November 19, 2018 webinar and presentation reviewed the ESSA requirements regarding the One Percent Rule.

LEA Assessment Rate Data

LEA Assessment Rates

States are required to calculate the percentage of students who were assessed using the alternate assessments (DLM), by LEA, for each tested content area and grade level.

State Assessment Rate Tables [PDF]: This document contains state assessment and participation rates for all students and federal reporting subgroups for 2017-18 and 2018-19.

LEA Assessment Rate Tables: Each of the tables below includes calculations for both the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years.

  • Science was not included initially in the 2017-18 calculations because that was a field test year for the new general education science assessment (NGSA) and participation data was provided well after the waiver was submitted to the USDE. Since then, calculations were completed for 2017-18 and are included in the tables above, along with data for 2018-19.
  • The formula for the calculations can be found in the presentation "One Percent Rule: 2017-18" and will be covered in the January 22, 2020 webinar. For registration information, click on the Understand the ESSA Requirements tab.
  • To find out which students are included in your LEA's calculations, you will need the testing rosters for each assessment: DLM, RICAS, NGSA, and SAT. Student rosters are available through the Rhode Island Assessment Data Portal (ridemap.ride.ri.gov/default.aspx). 
  • Students assessed in outplacement schools were included in all LEA and state calculations.
  • No student scores or achievement data were used in the calculations.

Complete the LEA Assurances Form

LEA Assurances Form

As part of the process of creating a state waiver and an LEA action plan, any LEA that tested more than 1% of students using the DLM alternate assessments, in any content area, must submit an action plan to RIDE. If your LEA exceeded 1% of students being assessed using the Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) alternate assessments in English language arts, mathematics, and/or science, then the LEA superintendent and special education director must sign and return the LEA Assurances Form below by Friday, January 10, 2020 as part of the process for creating an action plan. More information on Action Plans will be covered in the webinar on January 22 (11:00-12:30) (registration link).

Develop and Submit an Action Plan

All LEAs over the one percent threshold are required to complete and submit an Action Plan using the template below.

  • One Percent Rule 2020-21:
    • Registration Link:
    • Presentation: Will be posted after the webinar.
    • Webinar Recording: Will be posted after the webinar.
  • LEA Action Plan (MS Word): Any LEA over 1.00% of students taking the alternate assessment must complete an Action Plan and submit it to RIDE by February 28, 2020. The presentation and recording of the webinar will assist LEAs in completing the Action Plan.
  • Action Plan Template (XLS): These spreadsheets will help LEAs complete Tables 1, 2, and 3 of their action plan. LEAs are not required to use these but they may find them helpful as they complete the tables required in the action plan document

Ensure that Families are Informed

Ensuring Families are Informed

Part of the ESSA and 1% requirement is for every LEA to ensure that families of students with disabilities who take alternate assessments be clearly informed of the following:

  • Their child’s academic progress towards achievement of the content standards in English language arts, mathematics, and science will be measured using the Essential Elements.
  • They understand the graduation options for their child. 
  • They have been informed of any other implications, including any effects of local policies on the student’s education, resulting from taking an alternate assessment.

While these IEP team assurances have been included as part of the process for determining eligibility for the alternate assessments for many years, it is important that the Participation Criteria for Alternate Assessments Form, be signed each year by a member of the IEP Team to confirm that the necessary discussions with the families happened. 2020-21 documents and forms will be available in June, 2020.

  • 2020-21 IEP Team Guidance for Eligibility for the Alternate Assessments [PDF]
  • 2020-21 Eligibility Criteria for Alternate Assessments Form [PDF]

Train IEP Teams

All LEAs, not just ones who exceed the one percent threshold, are expected to train IEP Teams annually on ESSA and the one percent rule, the eligibility criteria, and the IEP Team Assurances Form. However, an LEA may discover that training also needs to be conducted in other areas, like developing IEP goals aligned to the Essential Elements, which is part of criteria 2. Another area an LEA may need to consider is gathering evidence from families to provide more evidence for criteria 3. In order to assist LEAs with this task, several presentations and accompanying resources provided here that LEAs may use and adapt to their specific needs and goals.

  • Alternate Assessment Presentation: This presentation to Special Education directors on developing an evidence-based system for eligibility decisions, IEP goal writing, and accommodations. Also covers Essential Elements, understanding the DLM score report, and an overview of the One Percent Rule.
    • Handout: Evaluating Evidence. [MS Word] This handout was used with the presentation to identify areas where evidence could be cataloged and any areas where gathering evidence needed to be improved.
    • Documentation of Evidence Form. [MS Word] This documentation of evidence form is generic but can be edited to reflect any specific evidence the LEA requires to be used during the eligibility determination process.
  • Pawtucket Eligibility Presentation: Developed in partnership with Pawtucket School Department.


Ensure Accurate Data, Ensure Accurate Calculations

To ensure accurate registration for state assessments and calculations of the percent of students who will be assessed using the alternate assessments, LEAs should take the following actions:

  • Calculate the percent of students assessed using LEA data. RIDE calculated the percentage of students assessed with the alternate assessments using the data from test vendors. This data only includes students who participated in the state assessment program. LEAs should conduct their own calculations using their own enrollment data to identify any discrepancies between the data RIDE has and the data the LEA has. 
  • Review student information system information being transmitted to the Enrollment Census for ALL grade levels to ensure that all student information is accurate and they are correctly enrolled to your LEA, including students attending outplacement schools within and outside of Rhode Island.
  • Review Special Education Census data to ensure the following number codes in the Assessment Accommodations section are correctly applied to all students:
    • 1 = without accommodation is only for students who will take RICAS, PSAT10, SAT, and NGSA.
    • 2 = with accommodations is only for students who will take RICAS, PSAT10, SAT, and NGSA with accommodations.
    • 3 = alternate assessment is only for students who will take DLM alternate assessments in ELA, mathematics, and science.
    • Grade level is accurate.
    • School code is accurate.