Assessment Options for Students with Disabilities

Students with disabilities have several options for participating in the regular state accountability assessments.

Standards of Learning (SOL) Assessments

All students, including those with disabilities, are assessed on statewide accountability measures. In Virginia, students with disabilities have several options for participating in the regular state accountability assessments.

Students with disabilities may participate in the Standards of Learning (SOL) assessments in the same manner that non-disabled students participate, or they may participate in the SOL assessments with standard or non-standard accommodations.


Content Area Assessments by Grade Level

Elementary Middle School High School
  • Grade 3 - Math and Reading
  • Grade 4 - Math, Reading and History
  • Grade 5 - Math, Reading and Science
  • Grade 6 - Math and Reading
  • Grade 7 - Math and Reading
  • Grade 8 - History, Math, Reading, Science and Writing
  • Grade 10 - Science and History
  • Grade 11 - Math, Reading, and Writing

SOL Assessments Resources

SOL Test Blueprints

Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)

View the VAAP Implementation Manual

States are required to create alternate assessments for students who are unable to take the general statewide assessments. In Virginia, students who are working in the Aligned Standards of Learning (ASOL) curriculum may participate in the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) in grades 3-8 and 11.

The VAAP is designed to evaluate the performance of students with significant cognitive disabilities. This assessment is available to students with significant cognitive disabilities in grades 3-8 and high schoolwho are working on academic standards that have been reduced in complexity and depth. Students who are instructed in the ASOL will be assessed with the VAAP. Content areas assessed each year align with SOL content areas assessed for non-disabled peers in Reading, Writing, Mathematics, Science, and History-Social Studies. Students instructed in the ASOL will earn the Applied Studies Diploma.

Virginia Substitute Evaluation Program (VSEP)

View the VSEP Implementation Manual

The identification of students to participate in the VSEP is the responsibility of the IEP team or 504 committee. All IEP teams and 504 committees are required to use the criteria for participation described in the Students with Disabilities: Guidelines for Assessment Participation to determine eligibility.

The VSEP is an alternative method of assessing students who, by the nature of their disability, are unable to participate in the SOL assessments even with testing accommodations. The VSEP is available to students with disabilities who need the grade 8 numeracy and literacy certification required to earn a Modified Standard Diploma.*

Students participating in the VSEP are required to provide evidence of achievement through a course work compilation (CWC) based on the same standards as the blueprint for the SOL tests. A student’s CWC represents his or her performance and skills attained within a specific subject area addressed in the SOL test blueprint. The specific content areas are listed below:

EOC content areas

  • English: Writing and Reading
  • Mathematics: Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry
  • Sciences: Biology, Earth Science, and Chemistry
  • History-Social Studies: Virginia and United States History, World history I, World History II, and World Geography

Grades 3-8 Special Permission Request

With special permission from the VDOE Division of Student Assessment and School Improvement, students with disabilities may submit a CWC to demonstrate their knowledge and skill for the SOL in grades 3-8 Reading and Mathematics, grade 5 and 8.

VDOE will grant special permission for a small number of eligible students with disabilities in grades 3-8 who are unable to access the SOL test.

For the VSEP Special Permission Request, consider the following information:

  • If the student has an IEP or 504 Plan (or one is being developed) and is enrolled in grades 3-8AND is working on Standards of Learning at grade level AND has experienced: a unique disability that prevents the student from accessing the SOL assessment even with allowed ,accommodations, a rapid deterioration of sensory functions, or a new disability, THEN the student should participate in the VSEP (special permission) with VDOE approval.

*Grade 8 content areas required for the Modified Standard Diploma (ONLY for students entering the ninth grade for the first time prior to 2013-14 school year)

  • Grade 8 Reading (literacy assessment)
  • Grade 8 Mathematics (numeracy assessment)

Virginia Modified Achievement Standards Test (VMAST)

View information on the VMAST from the Virginia Department of Education

VMAST is designed for students with disabilities who are learning grade-level content but cannot be assessed to the same achievement standards as their nondisabled classmates. Items on the VMAST include supports and simplified items not available to students who take SOL tests in reading and mathematics.

The VMAST continues to be available in a limited capacity for certain high school students.

  • The VMAST is available in Algebra 1 and English 11: Reading for students whose IEP indicates they are working towards a Standard Diploma with credit accommodations. The student must pass the content course and have twice failed the corresponding SOL test with a score of 374 or below.
  • The VMAST is also available for students with disabilities who entered high school prior to 2013-14 and are working towards a Modified Standard Diploma. The eighth grade reading or mathematics SOL can be used to earn the literacy or numeracy credit required for the Modified Standard Diploma.

Eligibility for participation is determined by the IEP team or 504 committee.

Contact Information

Ellen Agosta
Program Manager