The New Jersey Department of Education is preparing to submit an initial 1% percent waiver request in response to the Office of Special Education memo sent to all states Sept. 20, 2023, according to an advisory that went to directors of special education, staff Involved with alternate assessments and parents of students with disabilities.

The NJDOE has adopted alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant intellectual disabilities. The NJDOE measures the achievement of those standards with an alternate assessment aligned with alternate academic achievement standards. A federal regulation requires that, for each subject for which assessments are administered, the total number of students assessed in that subject using an alternate assessment with alternate academic achievement standards may not exceed 1% of the total number of students in the state who are assessed in that subject.

The federal Every Student Succeeds Act caps the percentage of students who can take the alternate assessment at 1% percent of the total students tested. ESSA also allows states that may exceed the 1% cap to apply for a one-year waiver. The NJDOE believes the waiver may be necessary for the 2023-2024 school year. Therefore, the NJDOE seeks public comment on the 1% state waiver request.

After consideration of public comments received during the comment window, the NJDOE will submit an addendum to the waiver request with the included comments by Jan. 4, 2024.

Public Comment Process

The New Jersey State Waiver for the Alternate Assessment is available for review on the NJDOE’s Engagement, Professional Development and Technical Assistance website. The NJDOE invites all members of the public to review the proposal and submit comments via email by the end of the day Dec. 27, 2023.