NMAPA-New Mexico Alternate Performance Assessment
The purpose of the NMAPA is to maximize access to the general education curriculum for students with significant cognitive disabilities, ensure that all students with disabilities are included in New Mexico’s statewide assessment and accountability programs, and direct instruction in the classroom by providing important pedagogical expectations and data that guide classroom decisions. The NMAPA is only for those students with documented significant cognitive disabilities and adaptive behavior deficits who require extensive support across multiple settings (such as home, school, and community). The NMAPA is designed to measure the performance of a small subpopulation of students with significant cognitive disablilites against the New Mexico Expanded Grade Band Expectations (EGBEs). The test was designed to assist educators, parents, and related service providers with determining the level of academic skill the students have attained up to the point of assessment. The elementary and middle school administrations of the NMAPA consist of four scales:
Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, and Science. Writing is a subscale of Language Arts. The high school administration also includes a 12-task Social Studies assessment in addition to Language Arts, Writing, Mathematics, and Science. The estimated test length for the Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies assessments for the 2010 administration was 60 items (i.e., 12 tasks times an average 5 items per task) and 120 points (i.e., 60 items times an average 2 points per item. The process begins with developing task kernels. Task kernels are basic ideas for an assessment activity, stimulus materials, and purpose, which, based on their relation to the New Mexico EGBEs, can be used to develop a task and its items). PED then reviews the task kernels and provides feedback to AIR about which kernels are acceptable, unacceptable, or need revision.
AIR then develops the items and stimulus materials. A student is generally not eligible to take the New Mexico Alternate Assessment if the primary reason that the student is being considered is that he or she has one of the following:
- orthopedic impairment
- speech or language impairment
- cultural factors
- emotional disturbance
- other health impairment
- visual impairment, including blindness
- social and economic differences
- hearing impairment
- specific learning disabilities
- excessive or extended absences
By contrast, students with the following disabilities may be eligible for the alternate assessment:
- mental retardation
- multiple disabilities
- traumatic brain injury
The student’s IEP at the time of testing must indicate that the IEP team agrees that the student has met the criteria for most cognitive disability. This is not a decision that can be made informally at the time of testing. The 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilites Education Act (IDEA) established a legal requirement to include students with disabilities in general state-wide and district-wide assessment programs with appropriate accommodations and modifications in administration, if necessary.
IDEA 2004 now requires each individualized education program (IEP) to includea “statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment, and the particular assessment selected is appropriate for the child.