Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

1.0 Percent Threshold on Alternate Assessments

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires local educational agencies (LEAs) to notify the California Department of Education (CDE) if they expect to exceed 1.0 percent of their total assessed student population taking alternate assessments and to provide the justification for surpassing that threshold. As a part of the increased monitoring requirements related to exceeding the 1.0 percent cap on alternate assessments, the CDE requires all LEAs to report the percentage of students taking alternate assessments, regardless of whether the LEA:

  • Anticipates exceeding the 1.0 percent cap
  • Anticipates not exceeding the 1.0 percent cap
  • Has no students expected to take the alternate assessments

Overall, the intent of the ESSA regulations is to help address concerns about disproportionality related to LEA’s potentially overidentifying students for alternate assessments. The state undergoes increased monitoring and oversight by the U.S. Department of Education as a consequence for exceeding the threshold.

There are many factors that can lead individualized education program (IEP) teams to identify a student to take an alternate assessment, and there are other factors that can lead to a large number of these students residing within an LEA. IEP team members should refer to the CDE guidance provided to appropriately identify students for alternate assessments.

The 1.0 percent threshold calculation is based on one percent of the total number of students taking a standardized assessment in any curriculum area. If an LEA exceeds the 1.0 percent threshold, the LEA is required to provide information regarding its need for doing so. If an LEA continues to exceed the 1.0 percent threshold they may be identified for monitoring. Continued LEA overage is now considered in the identification rubric for Compliance and Improvement Monitoring (CIM) by the Special Education Division. These files list the LEAs that reported, before administration, that they may exceed the one percent threshold on alternate assessments for the listed administration year. Caution should be used when interpreting these self-reported results. Starting in 2020–21, all LEAs are shown in the results, including those that did not anticipate exceeding the cap and those that did not report.

For information about this data collection process or the California Alternate Assessments, please contact the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office by email at

Questions:   California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress Office |
Last Reviewed: Monday, February 12, 2024
Related Content
Recently Posted in Testing