DLM Aligned Early Literacy Alternate Assessment

About the Assessment

The State of Iowa’s Early Literacy Alternate Assessment – the Dynamic Learning Maps Aligned K-6 Early Alternate Assessment is a yearlong instructionally embedded assessment that includes three assessment windows. The reporting windows mirror the end of the ELI (e.g., FAST) Reporting Windows for students who participate in the general education assessment.


  • Fall Instructional / Artifact Collection Window – Aug. 28 – Sept. 29, 2023
  • Fall Reporting Window – Sept. 18 – Sept. 29, 2023


  • Winter Instructional / Artifact Collection Window – Oct. 2, 2023 – Feb. 2, 2024
  • Winter Reporting Window – Jan. 22 – Feb. 2, 2024


  • Spring Instructional / Artifact Collection Window – Feb. 5 – May 31, 2024
  • Spring Reporting Window – May 20 – May 31, 2024

Starting Fall of 2023, the Early Literacy Alternate Assessment is housed within ACHIEVE and will show under “My Tools” then “Data Management.” If teachers or administrators do not see the “My Tools” tab, let the AEA primary contact know.

Clarification on evidence retention for students that participate in the K-6 EL AA: the Iowa Department of Education will not request student evidence beyond the Fall of the school year following the school year for which benchmarking was reported. However, districts must keep all data that is educationally relevant for a minimum of five years or until it is no longer educationally relevant, whichever is longer.

District Assessment Preparation Steps: Aug. 14 – Sept.  29, 2023

1.All teachers complete the required training for the assessments that they will be giving this year. Training is accessible through Iowa’s Alternate Assessment Google Site (if link does not open, contact Jennifer Denne to be added to the site). Training must be completed by Sept. 29, 2023.

2. First Contact Surveys must be completed prior to entering any data for the Fall window and no later than Sept. 29, 2023.

3. For students in grades K-6 that participate in the Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (ELAA), there will continue to be three screening windows for the school year. Teachers will be required to enter scores for scales 1-4 and scale 6 for the screening/reporting windows.  Scale 5, Writing: Text Types and Purposes, continues as optional.

  • Scores for each scale must be supported by three pieces of evidence.

  • Evidence should reflect that the student demonstrated the skill in a variety of ways/activities.

  • Three pieces of evidence must show the student demonstrated understanding of the skill in a variety of ways/activities before it can be used for a screening score. (Updated starting the 2023-2024 school year). In other words, the student must have 3 of the SAME scores (e.g., 2, 2, 2) in order to report a score.

    • For  the Fall, Winter and Spring Screening, if the student does not demonstrate a higher level of skill three times from the previous window, the teacher may utilize the previous window’s screening score.

  • Evidence may be used for multiple scales as long as there is specific documentation on how the student demonstrated the skills for each scale. (Updated starting the 2023-24 school year)

4.  Based on the Early Literacy Alternate Assessment (ELAA) Screening data, IEP teams must choose a minimum of one scale for monitoring of progress at least monthly. The scale(s) for monitoring will be chosen after the fall screening, and these will be required to be monitored for the rest of the year.

5.  Evidence used for monitoring of progress and screening data should be collected from instructional activities or routines and should not be collected through an assessment event.

6. Evidence and cover sheets that are used to determine the score for a given window must be kept in a secure location until the following Fall.

7. Score reports for students tuitioned-in should be sent to the Resident District.

Note: Paraprofessionals/Classroom Associates are allowed to assist in the evidence collection for the Early Literacy Alternate Assessment.

Additional resources for alternate assessment are located in the Iowa Department of Education Iowa’s Alternate Assessment Google Site. Teachers who cannot access the site or who are new to alternate assessment, visit the Iowa’s Alternate Assessments for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities website for information on being added to the community.

When contacting the Iowa Department of Education for assistance in administering the DLM Aligned K-6 Early Alternate Assessment, the only allowable student information districts may share via email is the student’s state identification number. Do not include the student’s name or date of birth.

DLM Aligned Early Literacy Alternate Assessment