Alternate Assessment – MSAA (NCSC)

Arizona will administer the MSAA Alternate Assessments for ELA and Mathematics.
The Multi-State Alternate Assessment (MSAA) is a comprehensive assessment system designed to promote increasing higher academic outcomes for students with significant cognitive disabilities in preparation for a broader array of post-secondary outcomes. The MSAA is designed to assess students with significant cognitive disability and measures academic content that is aligned to and derived from your state’s content standards. This test contains many built-in supports that allow students to take the test using materials they are most familiar with and communicate what they know and can do as independently as possible. The MSAA will be administered in the areas of ELA and Mathematics in grades 3-8 and 11. Arizona will administer MSAA for ELA and Mathematics.

Click here to access the MSAA Video

In 2010 assessment was developed through the research and development done by the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) and will be carried forward by the MSAA State Partners. MSAA is currently being administered by nine participating states: Arizona, Arkansas, Maine, Maryland, Montana, the Pacific Assessment Consortium (PAC-6)[1], Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

General Information

If you would like more information on the National Center and State Collaborative please see this site: NCSC Partners Webpage

State Specific Guidance Eligibility And Terminology

MSAA Participation Guidelines


– Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS)-this is a term that is used to describe an Alternate Assessment. Alternate Achievement Standards are not the same as Alternate Academic Standards. Alternate Achievement Standards-descriptors of how well a student may demonstrate proficiency via the alternate assessment.

Alternate Academic Standards-standards developed for students with significant cognitive disabilities and were aligned to Arizona’s Academic Content Standards. [The previous Alternate Academic Standards for Reading and Mathematics are no longer applicable; they were removed and archived.]

Please contact us at (602) 542-8239 or at [email protected] if you have any questions.

TESTING Dates & UPDATES Instructional Supports and Resources

This webpage will be updated as new information is available. The following documents were developed within the NCSC project and offer Arizona Educators ideas, supports, and resources to provide instruction based on the Standards to students with significant cognitive disabilities.

Scripted PowerPoint schools can use to introduce NCSC and the resources that have been developed

NCSC Wiki This site hosts the National Center and State Collaborative Resources (NCSC) educators will need to accomplish these goals and deliver instruction aligned to the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards.

LASSI / MASSI Webinars
This link will give you access to several LASSI and MASSI webinars. To open the link, put your cursor on the link, hold the control key and left click your mouse. After the link opens, you will need to enter your name, an email address, and an answer to a simple math problem. Once this is done and a new page opens, scroll to the bottom of the page. There you will find the links to the LASSI and MASSI webinars.

NCSC Instructional Resources & Supports (Binders)

How to teach State Standards to Students Who Take the Alternate Assessment

ELA – NCSC Instructional Resources for English Language Arts
Teacher binder for ELA – Click on the ELA link NCSC Instructional Resources for English Language Arts and copy the following pages: 130-144 (graduated Understanding/Instructional Families); 150-182 (Element Cards); and 545-572 (Instructional Resource Guide)

MathematicsNCSC Instructional Resources for Mathematics
Teacher binder for Mathematics – Click on the Math link NCSC Instructional Resources for Mathematics, and copy the following pages: 19-43 (Instructional Resources Guide); 98-111 (Graduated Understandings/Instructional Families); and 116-147 (Element Cards)

For both ELA and Mathematics, print the Graduated Understandings/Instructional Families and Element Cards in color since color bands are used.

NCSC linking document-ELA
NCSC linking document-Math
NCSC Instructional Resource Guide

Test Coordinators
Alternate Assessment Test Coordinators
Select Alternate Assessment

2016-2017 Mandatory Training

 MSAA – ELA and Mathematics
March 2017 training modules for both Test Coordinators and Test Administrators.

AIMS A Science
– Nov. 9 – Dec. 9, 2016 online training modules for Test Coordinators Only. Spring 2017 AIMS A Science Training TCs will then be responsible for training any staff that will be administering AIMS A Science

Please contact us at (602) 542-8239 or at [email protected] if you have any questions.


Parent Overview Booklets

These documents are provided for parents of students participating in the Alternate Assessment.National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC)
NCSC College and Career Readiness Summary 9-10-13

NCSC Communicative Competence 9-10-13
NCSC Diagram and explanation 9-10-13
NCSC background 9-10-13
NCSC AA-AAS FAQs 9-10-13

Practice Site / Sample Items

September 8, 2016 – ESAA and 1% Cap
Webinar Link: Click here for RECORDED Webinar

Other Webinar Information:
– 2016 Webinar 1: 1% Cap in ESSA – PowerPoint

For questions and/or comments, please contact:
Audra Ahumada, Director of Alternate Assessment
[email protected]
(602) 542-4061 or at (602) 542-8239

CoP (Communities of Practice) Contact Information