NYSAA Eligibility and Participation Criteria

More information about NYSAA eligibility and participation criteria can be found via the link below and also attached to this article:



Definition of a Student with a Severe Disability (Section 100.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education)


“Students with severe disabilities” refers to students who have limited cognitive abilities combined with behavioral and/or physical limitations and who require highly specialized education and/or social, psychological, and medical services in order to maximize their full potential for useful and meaningful participation in society and for self- fulfillment. Students with severe disabilities may experience severe speech, language, and/or perceptual-cognitive impairments and challenging behaviors that interfere with learning and socialization opportunities. These students may also have extremely fragile physiological conditions and may require personal care, physical/verbal supports, and assistive technology devices.

NYSAA Eligibility
The process of determining eligibility begins with the Committee on Special Education (CSE). The CSE determines on an individual basis whether the student will participate in:

  • the State’s general assessment with or without accommodations;
  • the State’s alternate assessment with or without accommodations; or
  • a combination of the State’s general assessment for some content areas and the State’s alternate assessment for other content

The CSE ensures that decisions regarding participation in the State testing program are not based on:

  • category of disability,
  • language differences,
  • excessive or extended absences, or
  • cultural or environmental

The CSE ensures that each student has a personalized system of communication that addresses his/her needs regarding disability, culture, and native language so the student can demonstrate his/her present level of performance.

Tests and other assessment procedures are conducted according to the requirements of section 200.4(b)(6) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and section 300.320(a)(6) of the Code of Federal Regulations.


Participation Criteria

Only students with severe cognitive disabilities are eligible for the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA). The CSE determines whether a student with a severe cognitive disability is eligible to take the NYSAA based on the following criteria:

  • the student has a severe cognitive disability and significant deficits in communication/language and significant deficits in adaptive behavior; and
  • the student requires a highly specialized educational program that facilitates the acquisition, application, and transfer of skills across natural  environments (home, school, community, and/or workplace); and
  • the student requires educational support systems, such as assistive technology, personal care services, health/medical services, or behavioral

For information see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/nysaa/

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