Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education Input Sought on Proposed Waiver to Law that Limits Participation on Alternate Assessments

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Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Learning Services
Regulatory Authority
34 C.F.R. ยง200.6(c)(2)
Response Required
Federal Programs; Superintendents; Assistant Superintendent; Principals; Test Coordinators; Teachers; Curriculum Coordinators; School Counselors; Techstart Coordinators or Contact Name

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Memo Text

The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is seeking public comment on its request for a  waiver extension of 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(2), which limits the total number of students assessed in a subject area using an alternate assessment to no more than 1% of the total number of students assessed in the State. 


According to 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4), “if a State anticipates that it will exceed the cap under paragraph (c)(2) of this section with respect to any subject for which assessments are administered under § 200.2(a)(1) in any school year, the State may request that the Secretary [of Education] waive the cap for the relevant subject, pursuant to section 8401 of the Act, for one year.” 

Arkansas, based upon historical data, anticipates that between 1.1% and 1.2% of students assessed will be assessed using the alternate assessment. Since this exceeds the 1% limit, Arkansas must request a waiver to the 1% threshold for one year (34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4)). 

DESE plans to submit the waiver extension request to the U.S. Department of Education in the areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. The waiver extension request states that DESE will gather data on the characteristics of students participating in the alternate assessment to provide a standard for determining whether students who are participating have the most significant cognitive disabilities, the only population of students who should take the alternate assessment. In addition, the waiver extension request states that DESE will collect and analyze alternate assessment data, require justification from districts that exceed the 1% threshold, and address any disproportionality in the percentage of students taking the alternate assessment. 

The proposed waiver extension request is available for review from Tuesday, May 12, 2020, to Friday, June 12, 2020, on the DESE Special Education Unit website under Curriculum and Assessment/Assessment ( A digital copy of the waiver request may be obtained by clicking on the link below or by emailing

Any individual or organization may submit written comments on the proposed waiver pursuant to 34 C.F.R.§200.6(c)(4).  Written comments will be accepted from Tuesday, May 12, 2020, to Friday, June 12, 2020.  Please email comments to Robin Stripling at


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