Assessment is an integral part of the instructional program. Rigorous data analysis is used to guide instructional decisions and to evaluate the quality of program content. All students are required to participate in the state mandated assessments.

    Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
    Grades: K-3
    The DIBELS assessment is used to assess students' mastery of early reading skills. It provides teachers and parents with a better understanding of a student's strengths, weaknesses, and progress in the major developmental areas of early literacy. Assessment results are used to assist teachers with the development of classroom instruction appropriate for each student. DIBELS benchmarks are administered three times each year.

    ACT Aspire
    Grades: 3-8 + 10
    Educators must measure what students know at a point early enough in their academic career to make adjustments and continue to measure their progress and what they learn over time. With the adoption of ACT Aspire, the Alabama State Department of Education is ensuring that our students are ready. ACT Aspire is a standards-based assessment system that gauges student progression from grades 3 through 10 in English, reading, writing, mathematics, and science. ACT Aspire is administered to all Grade 3-8 students in Alabama public schools. As ACT Plan sunsets in fall 2014, ACT Aspire will be administered to all students in Grade 10.

    ACT Aspire is a unique assessment:

    Modular administration allows flexibility in scheduling testing across the entire four-week window.

    Students are assessed with selected response as well as constructed response items. Of course, the constructed response items do not always have just one answer.

    Schools and systems may test their students with computer-based or paper-pencil assessments. Many schools are choosing to test with a combination of computer-based and paper-pencil formats.

    The fact that ACT Aspire links to the ACT College- Career-Readiness Benchmarks and aligns with College- and Career-Ready Standards is the most attractive characteristic of this assessment.

    Teachers and parents want to know where their students are! With the ACT Aspire platform, teachers and parents will be able to get detailed information about student progress toward specific learning standards. With that information, they will be able to tailor instruction and resources to increase growth.

    Performance is reported in the following achievement levels:

    Level I - Does not meet academic content standards
    Level II - Partially meets academic content standards
    Level III - Meets academic content standards (proficient or grade-level performance)
    Level IV - Exceeds academic content standards

    Alabama Alternate Assessment (AAA)
    Grades: K-8, 11

    The Alabama Alternate Assessment(AAA) is a criterion-referenced state assessment administered as an alternate to the general education state assessment. The AAA is administered to students with significant cognitive disabilities working on the Alabama Extended Standards in the areas of reading, English language arts, mathematics and science.

    The AAA is designed with four levels of complexity and three levels of assistance selected by the teacher based on the student's abilities to complete a task. During the school year, the teacher provides instruction on all extended standards for the subjects to be assessed according to the student's grade-level and collects pieces of evidence reflective of the student's performance. Three pieces of evidence per extended content standard are selected as the student's portfolio, and the evidence is scored using the AAA Rubric:

    • Alignment to the extended standard
    • Complexity of the extended content standard
    • Level of assistance
    • Mastery of content

    Special education students participating in the AAA are taught Alabama Extended Standards throughout the school year. Decisions regarding the assessment of a special education student are made by the IEP Team.

    Assessing Competency and Communication in English State to State for English Language Learners (ACCESS)
    Grades: K-12
    ACCESS for ELLs (English Language Learners) measures the level of English language proficiency for LEP (Limited English Proficiency) / ELL students. This assessment reports information about a student's level of social and academic English language proficiency. Social language is used to communicate for everyday purposes. Academic language is used to communicate the content of language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. ACCESS is administered in March.

    ACT Plus Writing
    Grade 11
    The ACT is the capstone of ACT College and Career Readiness Solutions, and it is aligned to Alabama's College and Career Readiness Standards. The ACT Plus Writing is administered to all Grade 11 students enrolled in Alabama public high schools.
    The ACT:

    Is accepted by all four-year colleges and universities in the United States;

    Has been approved for use in No Child Left Behind and Annual Yearly Progress accountability;

    Will enable school and district leaders to track student performance with aggregate and standards-based reporting past high school classes;

    Will be used as an instructional improvement program statewide to improve the college and career readiness of Alabama students;

    Will raise college awareness and exposure among all students, rather than just self-selected, college-bound students now that it is administered statewide;

    Will provide user-friendly information about how ACT tests align with state standards.

    The ACT Individual High School Reports are excellent tools that can be used by counselors and teachers as they assist students in preparing for their futures. Educators will know the students' educational strengths and weaknesses, areas of need, college plans, and career interests. Teachers and administrators will use the ACT Profile Report in intervention planning, curriculum review, course planning, collaboration, and professional development.

    ACT WorkKeys
    Grade 12
    All Grade 12 students in Alabama public schools will be assessed with ACT WorkKeys in Spring 2014. ACT WorkKeys assessments are research-based measures of foundational work skills required for success across industries and occupations. They have been used for more than two decades by job seekers, employees, employers, students, educators, administrators, and workforce and economic developers.

    ACT WorkKeys assessments measure the cognitive and non-cognitive skills needed for success in the workforce.