January 20, 2017

TO:  Division Superintendents

FROM:  Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: Exceptions to One Percent Cap on the 2017 Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP)

Since 2008, the United States Department of Education has not allowed states to exceed the one percent cap on the number of proficient scores on the alternate assessment measuring alternate achievement standards that may be counted toward Virginia’s Accountability System.  While the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) may not request permission to exceed the cap on a statewide basis, it is authorized to grant exceptions to school divisions under specified circumstances.

School divisions with the Virginia Alternate Assessment Program (VAAP) participation data indicating that they will likely exceed the one percent cap are encouraged to examine their data to determine if they might need to apply for an exception.  The VDOE will consider requests for exceptions related to (1) small “n” issues and (2) targeted demographic anomalies.

If your data for the 2017 VAAP administration indicate that your division will exceed the one percent cap based upon the above-referenced criteria, please complete the survey application in the Single Sign-on for Web Systems (SSWS) portal.  Please find attached a PDF copy of the questions to assist in completing the online survey.  If you do not meet any of the exceptions criteria, you do not need to complete the survey.

Please follow these instructions:

Additional criteria are discussed in the application.  The online application should be completed by March 3, 2017.

Questions about this matter may be addressed to Deborah Johnson, educational specialist in the Office of Special Education Instructional Services, by telephone at (804) 371-2725 or by e-mail at Deborah.Johnson@doe.virginia.gov.  Thank you for your cooperation.



  1. Survey Questions (PDF)