Testing for Special Needs Students

Testing for Special Needs Students

The Georgia Alternative Assessment

The Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) is a key component of the Georgia Student Assessment Program. An essential tenet of both the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is the fact that states must ensure that all students, including students with significant cognitive disabilities, have access to a general curriculum that encompasses challenging academic standards. States must also ensure that all students are assessed for their progress toward meeting academic standards.


It is anticipated that 2013-2014 will be the final year of the CRCT-M program.

Transition from the CRCT-M to the General Assessment:  Information for Georgia’s Parents


ACCESS for ELLs is administered, annually, to all English learners in Georgia. ACCESS for ELLs is a standards-based, criterion referenced English language proficiency test designed to measure English learners’ social and academic proficiency in English. It assesses social and instructional English as well as the language associated with language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies within the school context across the four language domains. ACCESS for ELLs meets the federal requirements that mandates require states to evaluate EL students in grades K through 12 on their progress in learning to speak English.

ACCESS for ELLs is used to determine the English language proficiency levels and progress of ELs in the domains of speaking, listening, reading, and writing. ACCESS for ELLs serves five main purposes. These include:

  • determining the English language proficiency level of students;
  • providing districts with information that will help them evaluate the effectiveness of their ESOL programs;
  • providing information that enhances instruction and learning in programs for English language learners;
  • assessing annual English language proficiency gains using a standards-based assessment instrument;
  • providing data for meeting federal and state requirements with respect to student assessment.

The ACCESS for ELLs series spans five grade level clusters and six proficiency levels. The grade level clusters include: Kindergarten, Grades 1-2, Grades 3-5, Grades 6-8, and Grades 9-12.

Results for ACCESS for ELLs are reported in the four domains and proficiency in six levels. The six proficiency levels are: Entering (Level 1), Beginning (Level 2), Developing (Level 3), Expanding (Level 4), Bridging (Level 5) and Reaching (Level 6). There are three distinctive, yet overlapping, tiers for each grade level cluster except kindergarten. The kindergarten assessment is individually administered and covers all proficiency levels.