DLM Alternate Assessment

About the Assessment

DLM is the state-approved adequate yearly progress alternate assessment for students with significant intellectual disabilities.

  • The DLM English/Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Alternate Assessment is required for students in Grades 3-11. Grade 9 participation in ELA and Mathematics has been required since 2018. These tests are year-long instructionally-embedded assessments that include three assessment windows: fall, winter and spring.
  • The DLM Science Alternate Assessment is for students in grades 5, 8 and 10 and is a year-end spring assessment that measures student outcomes of year-long science instruction.

Note that for 2019-20, there are four assessment windows rather than three. Incompletion or incorrect completion of any of the four windows will result in children being counted as test exclusions. The DLM assessment windows for 2019-20 are:
Fall Phase 1: Sept. 9 – Nov. 1, 2019
Fall Phase 2: Nov. 4 – Dec. 20, 2019
Spring Phase 1: Feb. 3 – March 20, 2020
Spring Phase 2: March 23 – May 15, 2020

Assessment Requirements

The criteria for participation in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments reflect the pervasive nature of a significant intellectual disability. IEP teams must select the alternate assessment as the only option for all subject content areas assessed.

Students who participate in Iowa’s Alternate Assessments will not participate in the Iowa Assessments. Participation guidelines are programmed into the State Web Individual Education Program (IEP) and are located on the Iowa Department of Education’s alternate assessment webpages. Every student is to be tested, even those who receive homebound services or attend a shortened school day. District alternate assessment coordinators should contact Jennifer Denne, Alternate Assessment Consultant at the Iowa Department of Education, for guidance on assessment requirements for students who are receiving homebound services or attend a shortened school day. To say, “we need to exclude this student from the testing window,” means the student is being excluded from participation in the Iowa Core, which is documented as non-compliance and illegal. Students must complete all testing requirements within each assessment window or will be considered an exclusion. Exclusions may be appealed through the Department.

Assessment Preparation: Aug. 14 – Sept. 9, 2019

Data Management Activities
Step 1: Establish District Point of Contact User Accounts in DLM Educator Portal
District Alternate assessment coordinators and data stewards (district points of contact) must have an active account within DLM Educator Portal prior to completing data management activities. If your district points of contact do not have a registered account, contact Jennifer Denne.

Step 2: Enroll Teachers and Roster Students Within DLM Educator Portal
The State of Iowa has partnered with DLM staff to host a series of live webinars for district data Stewards in data management activities listed below. Webinars are scheduled to be posted on the Iowa Department of Education’s website. The DLM website also has information specific to Iowa for data stewards, alternate assessment coordinators and teachers.

DLM Service Desk Assistance
Teachers who experience difficulties with the DLM system will complete and forward the DLM Service Desk Template to their district alternate assessment coordinator/data steward. The DLM Service Desk Template is located on the Iowa Department of Education’s alternate assessment webpage. District alternate assessment coordinators/data stewards may also contact the DLM Service Desk by calling (855) 277-9751 or emailing DLM-support@ku.edu.

When contacting the DLM Service Desk or the Iowa Department of Education for assistance in administering the DLM Alternate Assessment, the only allowable student information a district may share via email is the student’s state identification number. Do not include the student name or date of birth.

Resources to support district implementation of the DLM Assessment and data management activities (e.g., enrollment of users and students and roster students to content area tests) are found within the State of Iowa’s DLM website and at the Iowa Department of Education’s alternate assessment webpages. A District Point of Contact Calendar will be posted on the Iowa Department of Education website that outlines timelines and activities throughout the school year.

Step 3: Ensure All Teachers Complete Required Assessment Training
The DLM Alternate Assessment requires teacher training. District data stewards enter new teachers into the KITE Educator Portal and notify DLM that teachers have been added. Teachers new to DLM take the self-directed training for teachers new to alternate assessment. Returning teachers take the self-directed training for returning test administrators. The DLM training portal is accessed through this site. Certification and test security attestation are required before teachers are allowed to access rosters in the Educator Portal of KITE. Once teachers are certified, attest to test security and have students assigned to them in the educator portal, teachers enter first contact survey information and create instructional plans.

Step 4: Support Teachers in Using the State of Iowa’s DLM Test Blueprints to Create Instructional Plans in DLM Educator Portal Instructional Tools Interface (ITI)
The State of Iowa’s DLM Test Blueprints are located on the Iowa Department of Education’s alternate assessment webpages and the State of Iowa’s DLM website. Teachers are required to use and maintain the State of Iowa’s DLM test blueprints within the student’s cumulative record. The State of Iowa’s DLM test blueprints outline what essential elements in each content area (English/language arts, math and science) are to be tested and the amount of testing required during each assessment window. Students must complete all testing requirements within each assessment window, or they will be considered an exclusion. Exclusions may be appealed through the Department.

Step 5: Support Teachers in Test Administration
Additional resources for test administration are located on the DLM educator resource page. This DLM Consortium page is the key webpage for educators. It includes information Department of Education Alternate Assessment Webpage DLM assessment resources, DLM job aids and videos to support test administrators. Test administrators are encouraged to bookmark this page and visit frequently for updates and new resources.

Note: Paraprofessionals/classroom associates are not authorized to administer the DLM Alternate Assessment.

There are stringent test security requirements, and teachers must follow all test administration requirements including using only allowable accommodations or modifications, printing only the Testlet Information Packets allowed by DLM and destroying after administration and not printing, copying or sharing any test item. Testlets are administered through DLM following the test blueprint items selected by the teacher during initial completion of Steps 3 and 4.

DLM Alternate Assessment