Office of Assessment Policy, Development and Administration
Office of Special Education


September 30, 2011

Dear NYSAA Teacher:

New York is one of 19 states participating in the National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) project. The goal of the NCSC project is to develop a comprehensive assessment system for students with significant cognitive disabilities by 2014-15, including curriculum and instructional modules and comprehensive professional development, as well as an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) based on the best practice-oriented and psychometric research available.

As part of this work, we are asking teachers throughout the state who have administered the NYSAA to one or more students during the 2010-2011 school year to complete two surveys. The feedback and data collected from these surveys will help inform the creation of a high quality assessment system for these students and ensure that the experience of New York State educators and students is represented in the NCSC project.

We would like to invite you to participate in the following two surveys for teachers who administered the NYSAA to a student last year:

Learner Characteristics Survey
The Learner Characteristics Inventory gathers information about the learner characteristics of each student of yours who participated in the NYSAA during the 2010-11 school year. Please fill out the survey once for each student - each survey will take about five minutes. This is very important information for New York to know about the characteristics of students who participate in the assessment.

Instruction & Post-School Goals Survey
The second survey asks you about your ideas and perspectives on instruction and post-school outcomes for students who participated in the NYSAA. This survey will take about 15 minutes to complete. After you complete it, you will be given a link to a drawing for prizes (see below).

After you submit the Instruction & Post-School Goals Survey (regardless of whether you answered every question), you can choose to enter a drawing for a number of prizes of particular interest to teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities, including a software package, recording technology for your classroom, or one of two editions of Kearns and Kleinert's (2010) Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: An Educator's Guide. The contact will email you the link.

Your answers on the surveys will remain completely anonymous and confidential. We will not collect any identifying information about you or your school/district. Neither the research team nor your state AA-AAS staff nor anyone in your school/district will know that any information was provided by you, or whether you participated in the study. There are no known risks for participating in this survey. If you have questions about the study, please feel free to contact Allison Kerbel at or (202) 895-2789. If you have complaints, suggestions, or questions about your rights as a research volunteer, please contact the University of Minnesota Research Subjects' Advocate Line at (612) 625-1650.

Thank you for your time and for sharing your thoughts on this topic! Your responses are valued. To ensure that your response will be included in the research, please submit the surveys no later than Friday, October 14th.


David Abrams Signature

David Abrams, Assistant Commissioner, Office of Assessment Policy, Development and Administration

Rebecca Cort Signature

Rebecca Cort, Associate Commissioner, Office of Special Education

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