Alternate Assessment – NCSC

The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project led by five centers and 24 states (13 core states and 11 Tier II states) to build an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. Arizona will administer the NCSC Alternate Assessments for ELA and Mathematics.


The State of Arizona has adopted the Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards (AZCCRS) for ELA and Mathematics. As Arizona prepares to transition to a new alternate assessment, it is important that all teachers become knowledgeable about the Arizona College and Career Ready Standards. It is imperative that special educators are very familiar with the new format and shifts in the student standards so that they will be able to navigate through National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) instructional supports. The instructional supports developed by the NCSC project can help teachers provide meaningful and accessible content to students with significant cognitive disabilities.

General Information

State Specific Guidance for NCSC



- 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 [The previous Alternate Academic Standards for Reading and Mathematics are no longer applicable; they were removed and archived.]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 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)
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)

Mathematics -NCSC 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

Teachers/Test Administrators

ADE recommended roll-out of NCSC instructional supports:

NCSC Instructional Resource Guide provides explicitly scripted instructional strategies for teachers to use when working with students who do not have consistent response modes.

Graduated Understandings (Instructional Families-Core Content Connectors) has several views of the Core Content Connectors which identifies the most salient grade-level, core academic content aligned to the College and Career Ready Standards.

Element Cards can be used to support lesson planning providing scaffolds and supports for students.

LASSI / MASSI (Mathematics or Language Arts Activities for Scripted Systematic Instruction) provides explicitly scripted lesson plans including materials that can be cut out and used.

UDL Unit Lesson has examples for elementary, middle and high school of how teachers can differentiate a math lesson in the general education setting focusing on communication and universal design for learning/access.

Test Coordinators


Mandatory Alternate Assessment Test Coordinator Training 2014-15

AIMS A - NCSC Training Chart
NCSC (ELA & Mathematics) Registration Window Opens Feb 2015

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


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

Technology & WEBINARS

NCSC Technology Requirements 012714

NCSC Mega Webinars
PowerPoint Presentation NCSC ELA Mega Webinar 1-27-14
To view recorded webinars, install the Go To MeetingCodec at no charge.

Archived Recording: NCSC ELA Mega Webinar 1-27-14 Archived Recording (You will be prompted to enter your email address to view this recording.)

Mathematics – NCSC Mega Webinar 12-17-12 PowerPoint Presentation

NCSC CoP (Communities of Practice)

Contact Information

Please contact Audra Ahumada, Director of Alternate Assessment
by e-mailing the Alternate Assessment inbox or at
(602) 542-4061