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Lessons Learned: Looking Forward to the 2013-2014 Administration of the GAA Session 8 Recording: . Georgia Alternate Assessment. Welcome to Session 8 Looking Forward to 2013-2014.

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Georgia alternate assessment

Lessons Learned: Looking Forward to the 2013-2014 Administration of the GAASession 8Recording:

Georgia Alternate Assessment

Welcome to session 8 looking forward to 2013 2014

Welcome to Session 8 Looking Forward to 2013-2014

This session will begin at 2:30 p.m.

The power point is located in the GAA Presentations Portlet at this location:

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2013 2014 gaa

2013-2014 GAA

  • The 2013-2014 series of webinars (Sessions 1-8) serve as introductory components for informing and training system staffin the planning, implementation, and submission of the GAA portfolios.

  • Reading and understanding the GAA Examiner’s Manual 2013-2014 and the materials provided through the webinar trainings are necessary to understand the policies and procedures required for the administration of the GAA.

Overview of this presentation

Overview of This Presentation

This presentation will cover the following topics:

General Information about the 2013-2014 GAA

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 administration of the GAA

Portfolio Test Security, Validation, and Ethics

Portfolio Peer Review

It is designed to inform:

All teachers who administer the GAA,

Peer Reviewers and designated trainers,

Special Education Directors,

Test Coordinators, and

Building Administrators.


2013 2014 gaa1

2013-2014 GAA

Additional sessions will be available for more in-depth training on topics that will assist test administrators.

All presentations will be posted on the GaDOE websiteat:


General information

General Information

Key Dates for the 2013-2014 GAA

General information1

General Information

Key Dates for 2013-2014 High School Retest GAA

Participation criteria

Participation Criteria

The student’s IEP Team determines how the student shall participate in Georgia’s student assessment program.

The student may be considered for participation in the GAA only if:

all participation criteria have been met, and

the IEP team determines that a student cannot meaningfully access the general statewide assessments, even with maximum appropriate accommodations.

State mandated content standards

State-Mandated Content Standards

  • Georgia began implementing the current state-mandated content standards for the first time in 2012-2013.

  • The GAA has reflected these current content standards since the fall of 2012.

  • The content standards selected for assessment on the GAA have been reviewed and approved by a committee of Georgia educators.

State mandated content standards1

State-Mandated Content Standards

  • Georgia school systems transitioned to the state-mandated content standards in ELA in Kindergarten through grade 12 and in Mathematics in Kindergarten through grade 9.

    • In 2013-2014, schools will expand the transition in Mathematics through grade 10.

  • The High School Mathematics content standards are being implemented by cohort, beginning with students who were in grade 9 during the 2012-2013 year.

  • Therefore, the GAA blueprint for High School Mathematics will not change until the 2014-2015 school year, when that cohort of students will be assessed for the first time.

State mandated content standards2

State-Mandated Content Standards

  • The content standards for Science and Social Studies will remain unchanged for the 2013-2014 school year.

  • The Blueprint for the GAA, including the current state-mandated content standards, is available in Appendix D of the GAA Examiner’s Manual 2013-2014 and on the GaDOE website.


Georgia alternate assessment

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration


  • 2012-2013 marked the seventh successful administration of the Georgia Alternate Assessment!

  • Assessment tasks and the quality of the portfolio entries continue to improve.

  • Teaching through the academic content standards is becoming a more integral part of daily instruction.

Gaa portfolios submitted

GAA Portfolios Submitted

10,278 portfolios were submitted in 2012-2013 as compared to 9,779 submitted in 2011-2012. This table provides a breakdown, by grade, including the total number of entries for both 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.

Student proficiency on the 2012 2013 gaa

Student Proficiency on the 2012-2013 GAA

  • Across all grades and content areas, the vast majority of students met or exceeded expectations as demonstrated by their Performance Level Indicator.

    • ELA: 83% Established or Extending Progress

    • Mathematics: 81% Established or Extending Progress

    • Science: 96% Established or Extending Progress

    • Social Studies: 96% Established or Extending Progress

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration1

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • Feedback from teachers and test coordinators as well as from the portfolios provided valuable information as to areas of focus for upcoming training.

    • Training will continue to focus on alignment and developing assessment tasks.

  • Continued training is needed to support teachers in their understanding of the current state-mandated content standards and the intent of the standards and elements/indicators.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration2

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • Nonscorable entries account for only a small percentage of the total entries submitted.

  • Analysis of nonscorable entries provided valuable information regarding issues and trends noted for this administration.

  • This information is used to inform topics for continued training.

Frequency of nonscorables by number and percent

Frequency of Nonscorablesby Number and Percent

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration3

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • The 2012-2013 GAA reported a slight increase in the percentage of nonscorable entries.

    • 11.68% of entries in 2012-2013 as compared to 9.98% of entries in 2011-2012.

    • The most significant increase was found in the nonscorable code NA- Not Aligned.

  • This increase was anticipated as a result of the transition to the new state-mandated content standards.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration4

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • With the transition to the current state-mandated content standards, it was crucial that the assessment stayed the same and that only those standards that clearly cross-walked to the existing GAA Blueprint be eligible for assessment.

    • Those standards/elements that did not crosswalk were removed from the Blueprint.

    • Some strands/standards previously assessed at one grade level were assessed at another.

  • As a result, teachers had to adjust instruction as well as assessment tasks to address the current standards.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration5

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

One example can be found with the spike in nonscorable frequency in Grade 6 Math, Entry 2

  • A contributing factor to this increase could be the fewer standards from which to choose.

    • 4 standards and elements/indicators in 2012-2013 eligible for assessment as compared to 29 standards/elements available in 2011-2012

  • Since teachers had to choose from only four options, we found similar recurring nonscorable issues.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration6

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • What we found:

    • Assessment tasks that worked with the GPS standards/elements were reused with the current state-mandated content standards without being modified to address the specific intent of the current standards.

    • Instructional activities that should take place before assessment were submitted as assessment tasks and did not address the specific intent of the new standards.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration7

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • What we found:

    • A higher percentage of nonscorable entries in Mathematics (K, 3-8)

    • Continuing difficulty with including the co-requisite Characteristic of Science within one of the Science assessment tasks

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration8

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

What we learned:

  • Need for further training in the state-mandated content standards – especially Mathematics

  • Need for further training in the development of new/modified assessment tasks that assess the intent of the current standards

  • Need for further emphasis on portfolio review that includes attention to alignment issues

Lessons learned enhancement to the 2013 2014 entry sheets

Lessons Learned: Enhancement to the 2013-2014 Entry Sheets

  • We are always listening to your feedback and looking for ways to improve process as well as materials.

  • Being responsive to circumstances in which an ineligible standard was assessed, a change has been made to the Entry Sheets to provide an additional level of safeguard.

  • The 2013-2014 electronic Entry Sheets have been improved with a new drop-down box from which to choose the Entry # (e.g., Entry 1 or Entry 2 for Math).

Lessons learned enhancement to the 2013 2014 entry sheets1

Lessons Learned: Enhancement to the 2013-2014 Entry Sheets

Newly added

drop-down box to choose entry #

By choosing the Grade, Subject, and Entry #, only those strands and standards eligible for assessment for that entry will be available in the drop-down menu as per the GAA Blueprint.

Lessons learned enhancement to the 2013 2014 entry sheets2

Lessons Learned: Enhancement to the 2013-2014 Entry Sheets


  • Two different Entry Sheets are provided:

    • Entry Sheet for students in grades K, 3-8, and High School (Retesters first assessed in HS in 2012-2013)

    • Entry Sheet for HS Retesters first assessed in HS prior to 2012-2013

  • Be sure to discard previous templates and use only the Entry Sheets for 2013-2014!

  • It is highly recommended that you use the electronic Entry Sheet to avoid Entry Sheet errors.

Lessons learned from the 2012 2013 administration9

Lessons Learned from the 2012-2013 Administration

  • Even the most successful endeavors can be improved through evaluation of both strengths and weaknesses.

  • The 2012-2013 GAA exemplified far

    more strengths, but continues to improve

    through ongoing evaluation.

Test security

Test Security

Test security1

Test Security

  • Maintaining security of all student materials is crucial to obtaining valid and reliable assessment results.

  • While the GAA materials themselves are not considered secure materials, student work and entries are secure once they have been chosen as assessment evidence and placed in the GAA portfolio binder.

    • Original student work or photos/videos of original student work (permanent products) must be submitted.

    • GAA evidence may not be photocopied and retained.

    • Photocopied permanent products may not be submitted as evidence.

Test security2

Test Security

  • Once compiled into the portfolio, student work and materials being used for the purposes of the GAA must be kept in locked storage within the classroom– except during use.

  • Access to those materials must be restricted to authorized individuals only.

Test security3

Test Security

  • The assessment binder should not be removed from the school building, except when sign-out procedures are in effect for the purpose of peer reviews.

  • It is the direct responsibility of all individuals who administer the assessment to follow security procedures and protect the integrity of the assessment process.

Test security4

Test Security

  • Any action which compromises assessment security or leads to the invalidation of an individual student’s or a group of students’ test scores will be viewed by the Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) as inappropriate use or handling of tests and will be treated as such.

  • Any concern regarding test security must be reported to GaDOE immediately.  

  • Assessment Administration Division staff members are available to help system personnel develop and implement appropriate assessment security procedures.

Portfolio validation

Portfolio Validation

2013 2014 validation form

2013-2014 Validation Form

  • The Validation Form was designed to address certain issues that should not occur during the assembly of a student’s portfolio.

    • Fabricating or altering evidence of student work

    • Making and retaining photocopies of contents

    • Submitting photocopies of student work

  • Signatures of Test Administrator and Building Administrator are required.

Georgia alternate assessment

The GAA Validation Formwas provided in the portfolio binder to verify that all requirements and procedures have been followed and that the contents are the work of the student being assessed.

  • This is an important step– the signatures validate the contents of the portfolio.

  • Be certain that signatures have been obtained from both the person submitting the portfolio and the Building Administrator.

  • For transfer students, two Validation Forms must be submitted- one by the sending school/system and one by the receiving school/system.

Required signature

Administrator checks

one box

Required signature

Portfolio validation1

Portfolio Validation

  • The portfolio validation process requires signatures on the Validation Form which authenticates the student work included in the portfolio.

  • This form is a required document that must be completed and signed by both the Building Administrator and the person responsible for submitting the portfolio.

    • Refusal to sign the Validation Form is NOT an option

  • This is a secure document which will be checked upon receipt.

  • In the case of transfer students, two Validation Forms must be submitted (one from the original school and one from the new school).

Portfolio validation2

Portfolio Validation

  • Violation of any of the aforementioned requirements for compiling student work for the GAA may result in the portfolio being invalidated and could result in additional actions or consequences.

  • Should the Building Administrator, Portfolio Reviewer, or STC discover any irregularities, the portfolio can be returned to the teacher for correction.

  • If it is too late in the process or not feasible to return the portfolio to the school/teacher, an IrregularitiesForm must be completed by the System Test Coordinator alerting the GaDOE to the problem.



Portfolio Invalidations



  • The Georgia Alternate Assessment is a state and federally mandated assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities who have met the participation guidelines and have been determined appropriate for the assessment by their IEP teams.

  • This assessment must adhere to all of the protocols and procedures required for the general assessments.

  • A breach of any of the validation or security policies constitutes both a procedural and ethical violation necessitating an investigation and possible consequences.

Portfolio invalidation

Portfolio Invalidation

  • Should an investigation of any of the aforementioned issues determine that a breach has occurred, one possible consequence is invalidation of the portfolio.

  • In such a case, the scores for the entry/entries in question are wiped out, and it is reported as an invalid assessment.

Issues resulting in invalidation

Issues Resulting in Invalidation

  • Irregularities and questions about evidence authenticity are sometimes discovered and self-reported by schools and/or systems.

    • brought to light during portfolio review process

    • noted by Building Administrators during validation process

    • reported, sometimes anonymously, by various school personnel

  • If these irregularities are discovered, addressed, and corrected prior to portfolio submission, it would be unnecessary to report it to the state as long as it is dealt with at the school/system level.

Issues resulting in invalidation1

Issues Resulting in Invalidation

  • Issues regarding evidence authenticity and possible fabrication can also be discovered during scoring.

  • Problems most frequently seen include:

    • Dates changed, erased, and rewritten or covered over with Wite-Out® or collection period labels

    • Observation and interview forms with identical information attributed to multiple students

    • Identical permanent products attributed to multiple students (not group work)

  • These issues would result in the portfolio being invalidated.

Issues resulting in invalidation2

Issues Resulting in Invalidation

  • The vast majority of portfolios submitted for the 2012-2013 GAA were compiled following prescribed policies and procedures, and the evidence submitted represented authentic student work.

    • Actually, the number of invalidated portfolios has decreased slightly over the last two administrations.

  • Careful attention to validation and evidence requirements during portfolio review will help to ensure that this trend continues.

Portfolio review process

Portfolio Review Process

Gaa portfolio review

GAA Portfolio Review

A great deal of time and effort has gone into compiling the portfolio of student work that showcases the progress a student has made in knowledge and skills in the academic content standards and elements.

Portfolio reviewers provide an invaluable service as they work to support teachers before final submission of GAA portfolios by making sure that all requirements have been met.


Portfolio review prior to submission

Portfolio Review Prior to Submission

  • It is critical that the portfolio be reviewed both during collection and before submission to be certain that everything is complete, tasks align, and evidence requirements have been met.

  • To this end, it is imperative that portfolio reviewers participate in training and be very familiar with all requirements as outlined in the Examiner’s Manual and the webinar trainings.

Portfolio review by the teacher

Portfolio Review by the Teacher

Portfolio review by the teacher should be an ongoing process throughout evidence collection.

  • Have I selected the best standard and element for this student?

    • Does he seem engaged?

    • Is he making progress?

  • Are the tasks and materials appropriate?

    • Is he able to demonstrate what he knows?

    • Can he communicate with a reliable response?

  • Should I replace this evidence and design a task that is more appropriate for the individual student?

Structuring a portfolio review

Structuring a Portfolio Review

Who should conduct the portfolio review?

  • Trained GAA Administrator

  • Designated GAA Trainer

  • Core Access Teacher

  • School Test Coordinator

  • SPED Coordinator

  • Building Administrator

Structuring a portfolio review1

Structuring a Portfolio Review

When should the review be conducted?

  • 1st Review: mid-administration, after Collection Period 1 evidence has been compiled

  • Final Review: before submission, after all evidence has been compiled and organized in the portfolio binder

Portfolio review

Portfolio Review

Steps to complete a peer review of the portfolio:

  • Carefully review the Entry Sheet

    • Student name

    • Teacher name

    • Required standard

    • Eligible standard

    • Strand/domain, standard, element/indicator match up

    • Characteristic of Science

    • Task Descriptions

Portfolio review1

Portfolio Review

2.Consider all aspects of the evidence requirements

  • All four pieces of evidence align to standard and element

  • Primary and Secondary evidence included for each collection period

    • Original student work, not photocopies, must be submitted.

  • 14 calendar days from Primary to Primary

  • Types of evidence are the best choices to clearly demonstrate the student’s responses

  • Grade-appropriate materials

Portfolio review2

Portfolio Review

3. Review documentation to ensure that all necessary annotation has been provided somewhere within the evidence

  • Name (Who)

  • Dates (When)

  • Task (What)

  • Setting (Where)

  • Student performance (How well)

  • Interactions (With Whom and Describe)

  • Independence (Prompts)

  • Collection period labels (Optional)

Portfolio review3

Portfolio Review

  • Sign and date Checklistfor Teachers and Portfolio Reviewers

  • Validation Formmust be signed by Building Administrator and Person Responsible for Submitting the Portfolio

  • Recommend or verify that the Release to use Portfolio for Training has been signed and included in portfolio

Validation check for alignment

Validation Check for Alignment

  • The vast majority of nonscorables on the GAA are assigned in the Not Aligned (NA) category.

    • In the 2012-2013 administration, over 79% of all nonscorables were the result of alignment issues.

    • In a majority of these instances,only one or two of the four tasks did not align.

      • This indicates that teachers do have an understanding of the requirements of the standard and element.

  • It is critical that the portfolio reviewer evaluate each task individually to determine alignment of all four tasks to the standard and element.

Validation check for alignment1

Validation Check for Alignment

Have opportunities for teaching and learning, aligned to the assessed content, been provided?

  • When looking at the assessment task in isolation, can you identify the content standard/academic domain?

  • Could a curriculum content expert link the task back to the specific state standard?

  • Have the distinct essential components of the standard (element/indicator) been addressed?

    • What are the specific characteristics that make up the standard?

    • Focus on the language/terminology as written.

  • Do all four assessment tasks align to the intent of the element as it applies to the specified content standard?

Reviewing documentation

Reviewing Documentation

When reviewing evidence documentation, the teacher and portfolio reviewer must ask him or herself the following questions:

  • What, specifically, was the student asked to do as it aligns to the standard and element?

  • What were the actual questions/actions asked of the student?

  • What were the student’s answers? How did he/she respond?

  • Were the answers/responses correct? Has evaluation of student performance by the teacher been clearly documented?

  • What was the type andfrequency of prompting required for the student to successfully complete the task?

Reviewing documentation1

Reviewing Documentation

  • Review to ensure that all necessary documentation has been provided.

  • It is very important that documentation be clear and concise.

  • Contradictory or unnecessary annotations can lead to lower scores.

  • Accuracy or correctness of the student response should be documented separately from the type and frequency of prompting that led the student to the correct response.

Checklist for teachers and portfolio reviewers

Checklist for Teachers and Portfolio Reviewers

Georgia alternate assessment

  • The Checklistfor Teachers and Portfolio Reviewers is provided in the portfolio binder to ensure that all procedures and requirements have been satisfied before the portfolio is submitted.

  • The checklist should be part of the portfolio validation and review process as the reviewer signs and dates the form after each content area entry is checked.

  • It is recommended that the portfolio be reviewed twice – once after the first collection period has been completed and again before the portfolio is submitted.

  • The GAA Evidence Checklist, specific to each type of evidence submitted, can be found on pages 53-56 of the GAA Examiner’s Manual 2013-2014.

Avoiding invalidations

Avoiding Invalidations


If irregularities are discovered, addressed, and corrected prior to portfolio submission, it would be unnecessary to report it to the state as long as it is dealt with at the school/system level.

Ensuring a successful administration

Ensuring a Successful Administration

  • Principals are critical!

    • The GAA must be given the same consideration, resources, and support provided for all programs.

  • Teachers need support

    • Planning time needs to be scheduled; substitutes provided

    • Collaboration and training with content experts to facilitate understanding of content standards

    • Collaboration with other special educators to discuss/share/review aligned tasks

    • Professional development concerning curriculum access

Ensuring a successful administration1

Ensuring a Successful Administration

  • Training and support will continue to be provided on the state level in the form of:

    • GAA Fall Workshops via Blackboard presentations,

    • Webinars focusing on GAA administration as well as access to the curriculum,

    • the GAA Resource Board, and

    • portfolio review by peers and buildingexaminers.

Contact information

Contact Information

Questions About Test Administration

Call:GaDOE Assessment Administration Division

Toll free (800) 634-4106

Contact: Deborah Houston, Assessment Specialist (404) 657-0251


Contact information1

Contact Information

For information about access to the state-mandated content standards for students with significant cognitive disabilities

  • Contact: Kayse Harshaw

    Division for Special Education Services

  • Call: (404) 463-5281


Contact information2

Contact Information

Questions About Materials, Distribution, or Collection

Call:Questar’s GAA Customer Service Toll free (866) 997-0698

Email:Questar’s GAA Customer Service

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