DLM Alternate Assessment

About the Assessment

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that all students, even those with the most significant cognitive disabilities, have access to the general education curriculum. The Dynamic Learning Maps Assessments are Iowa’s Alternate Assessments for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities whose academic performance is appropriately judged against alternate achievement standards. They promote fair measure of student knowledge of the Iowa Core English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science Essential Elements.

The Dynamic Learning Maps (DLM) Assessments for ELA and math are year-long instructionally embedded assessments and assess English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics in Grades 3–11. Science is a year-end assessment for Grades 5, 8 and 10 with assessments available during the fall as well as the required spring assessment.

DLM Assessment Windows for 2022-23

The DLM Assessment is an instructionally embedded assessment that includes fall and spring assessment windows. Each window includes two phases.


  • Phase 1: Sept. 12 – Oct. 28, 2022
  • Phase 2: Oct. 31 – Dec. 16, 2022


  • Phase 1: Feb. 6 – March 24, 2023
  • Phase 2: March 27 – May 19, 2023

All user accounts, students and rosters must be completed in the DLM System no later than Sept. 16. Students’ First Contact Surveys and Personal Needs and Preferences (PNP) must be completed in the DLM System no later than Sept. 30. Only Eligible Individual (EI) should be used for the Disability Code.

The State of Iowa’s DLM Instructional Resources and Test Blueprints accessible through EdLinks on Iowa’s Alternate Assessment Google Site.

District Assessment Preparation Steps: Aug. 15 – Sept. 30, 2022

  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.
  2. The KITE Client Student Portal will need to be updated for 2022-23. Reference https://dynamiclearningmaps.org/kite.
  3. District Data Stewards will create accounts in the DLM System for teachers and students. If you are a new district-level contact and need an account set up in the DLM System, please contact Jennifer Denne to have an account created. If Data Stewards use the upload feature to create rosters, error messages will occur for learners in Grades or Content areas.
  4. Teachers are required to use and maintain the State of Iowa’s DLM Instructional Resources and 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 will be considered an exclusion.

a. Follow the test blueprint. Each testing window has two phases. Testlet administration is spread across each phase so that instruction is occurring/embedded throughout the testing window. Administer the required number of testlets for each of the two phases of each testing window. Science is recommended in the Fall but is not required. Science testlets are required in Spring Phases 1 and 2.

b. Use Testlet Information Pages, teacher practice activities or released practice tests to become familiar with testlet administration. Do not use the Exit does Not Save Function in an actual testlet. Remember that Testlet Information Pages are considered secure testing material and must be securely destroyed after use.

c. Assign Fall testlets at the recommended linkage level that are based on First Contact survey responses. Spring testlet levels are generated by DLM based on Fall performance and First Contact data.

Exclusions may be appealed through the Department.

Note: Paraprofessionals/Classroom Associates are not authorized to administer the DLM Alternate Assessment.

5. The Dynamic Learning Maps blueprints and other instructional resources are located on Iowa’s Alternate Assessment Google Site as well as under “Iowa” on the Dynamic Learning Maps site.

DLM Service Desk Assistance

Communication Delivery Chain – Provides guidance to districts in the process used to support DLM Assessment administration.

Districts Alternate Assessment Coordinators/Data Stewards may contact the DLM Service Desk by calling (855) 277-9751 or email DLM-support@ku.edu

To ensure consistency of communications, District Alternate Assessment Coordinators and/or District Data Stewards are responsible for relaying teacher and district implementation support needs to the DLM Service Desk and to the Iowa Department of Education.

DLM Service Desk Request Form – Districts may use the DLM Service Desk Request Form to support communications with their teachers and the DLM Service Desk.

Special instruction for sharing of student personal identifiable information (PII) when requesting DLM Service Desk and the Iowa Department of Education Support.

When emailing the DLM Service Desk or the Iowa Department of Education for assistance in administering the DLM Alternate Assessment, the only allowable student information 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 webpage. The Iowa Alternate Assessment Google Group contains announcements, calendars and timelines, contacts, district supports, training links, and information for both DLM and ELAA. 

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