Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)

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The Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) is designed to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8 and high school. Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year, the portfolio-based VAAP was replaced with a new multiple-choice assessment in the content areas of reading, mathematics, and science that was administered to students in an online or paper format. 

The new VAAP is based on academic content standards derived from the Standards of Learning (SOL) in reading, mathematics, and science that have been reduced in depth, breadth, and complexity.  These content standards are referred to as the Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning (VESOL).

Parent Resources for VAAP

VAAP Test Administration Materials

  • Spring 2024 Test Implementation Manual (PDF) - The Test Implementation Manual describes procedures that the Division Director of Testing (DDOT) and School Test Coordinator (STC) should follow before, during, and after test administration. This manual will include a section about the VAAP test administration in addition to sections about Standards of Learning test administrations.
  • VAAP 2023-2024 Examiner’s Manual (PDF) - The Examiner’s Manual contains the information, guidance, procedures, and responsibilities that the Test Examiners and Proctors are required to follow to administer the VAAP tests.
  • VAAP Test Plan Template (Word)

VAAP Test Blueprints

Much like the blueprint for a building, a test blueprint serves as a guide for test construction. The blueprint indicates the content areas that will be addressed by the test and the number of items that will be included by content area and for the test as a whole.




VAAP Performance Level Descriptors

The performance level descriptors (PLD) for the VAAP tests convey the knowledge and skills associated with each performance (achievement) level. The PLD indicates the content-area knowledge and skills that students achieving at a certain level are expected to demonstrate based upon the Virginia Essentialized Standards of Learning (VESOL).  These descriptors may guide educators and parents in understanding the type of student performance required for each achievement level.




Resources for Assessing History and Writing: 2021-2022 and Beyond

Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year and for eligible elementary and middle school students participating in VAAP, school divisions will collect student work to compile collections of evidence, score the collections of evidence using the existing VAAP scoring rubric and addendum, and report student performance to parents in elementary and middle school history/social science and grade 8 writing. The collections of evidence are to be based on the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL) for these content areas and levels. The ASOL are the content standards in history/social science and writing that have been reduced in depth, breadth, and complexity. Resources for assessing history/social science and writing are provided below:

Local Alternative Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Superintendent’s Memo #216-14, dated August 15, 2014, details the requirements that local school divisions administer local alternative assessments to students in content previously assessed by Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments. In the case of students with significant cognitive disabilities, these content areas were assessed by the VAAP. When the state assessments (SOL tests and VAAP assessments) were eliminated, school divisions became responsible for administering local alternative assessments in these content areas.

School divisions may choose to base the local alternative assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities on the existing Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL). These ASOL are provided below for use by school divisions if desired:

VAAP One Percent Waiver

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires states to ensure that the total number of students assessed in each subject using the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAAS) does not exceed one percent of the total number of all students in the state who were assessed. States that anticipate exceeding one percent in alternate assessment participation may submit a waiver request to the United States Department of Education (USED) 90 days before the beginning of the alternate assessment testing window. In addition, ESSA requires each school division to submit a justification when it anticipates testing more than one percent of students using the AA-AAAS. In Virginia, the AA-AAAS is known as the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP).

Virginia’s 2022-2023 documents are listed below.