How do you spell 'unpaid overtime' for more than 1,500 teachers? 'Dynamic Learning Maps... 'of the 1572 educators with KITE Educator Portal accounts (the mechanism used to complete the training modules), only 220 teachers have taken and passed all seven modules. ...'

The the alphabet soup of pretentious acronyms at CPS (Chicago Public Schools) few are as pretentious and obnoxious as ODLSS -- the special education department. As most teachers and principals now know, the main criteria for ODLSS power are that you come from out of town and that you have no experience as a special education classroom teacher in Chicago's public schools. Since Barbara Byrd Bennett re-branded the Office of Specialized Services the "Office of Diverse Learners..." two years ago, things have only gotten worse for principals and teachers forced to follow the ever-morphing ODLSS mandates while trying to serve the special education needs of real Chicago children in a world the city's ODLSS bureaucrats never bothered to work in.

The February 5, 2015 "Diverse Learners" memo from CPS's clueless special education central office.And so on February 5, 2015, ODLSS screamed at principals, via the "Network Chiefs" (many of whom have never taught in Chicago either) that CPS teachers hadn't completed the mandatory training in the latest iteration of privatized assessment of "diverse learners" (sic).

ODLSS memo to principals (via "Chiefs of Schools") February 5, 2015:


To: Chiefs of Schools

CC: Principals

From: Markay L. Winston, Ph.D. � Chief Officer, Diverse Learner Supports and Services

Denise Little � Chief Officer, Network Supports

Date: 2/5/2015

Re: Dynamic Learning Maps- Alternate Assessment (DLM-AA)

The Dynamic Learning Maps- Alternate Assessment (DLM-AA) has replaced the Illinois Alternate Assessment (IAA) this school year. The DLM-AA is an adaptive computer-based assessment for students with the most significant intellectual disabilities. All students with IEPs designated as being eligible to take the Alternate Assessment in Section 10(c) must be assessed using the DLM-AA.

There are three assessment windows in total. The first two administration windows are optional, however it is highly recommended that all students are assessed during each window. The DLM-AA test administration windows are as follows:

1st administration (optional) - November 10, 2014-December 19, 2014

2nd administration (optional) - January 5, 2015-March 13, 2015

Year End Administration (MANDATORY) - March 16, 2015-May 8, 2015

It is critical to note that teachers must complete seven training modules and assessments before administering the DLM-AA to students. To date, of the 1572 educators with KITE Educator Portal accounts (the mechanism used to complete the training modules), only 220 teachers have taken and passed all seven modules. Again, this required assessment cannot be administered to students unless all modules have been taken and passed by the instructor.

The following action steps need to be taken in order to ensure successful administration of the DLM-AA.

1) Determine which students are designated to take the DLM-AA.

2) Click here to review CPS information about the DLM-AA.

3) Ensure that Testing Coordinators submit the Teacher Account Template.

4) Ensure all Test Administrators have a KITE Educator Portal Account by logging in here.

5) Ensure that all Test Administrators complete and pass the seven DLM-AA training modules by February 21, 2015.


February 9, 2015 at 5:54 PM

By: Rod Estvan

DLM alterntive assessment

If your readers want to understand in greater detail the training requirements for the DLM alternative assessment go to

The total time involved in these trainings and the assessments associated with them are about 5 hours. If the teacher does not get an 80% on the assessment the module must be done over.

Because this new system for assessment of significantly cognitively disabled students is based on entered information on each student�s First Contact information page and this generates what are called testlets for the students it is honestly near impossible for a special education teacher to administer the instrument without this training.

For example the First Contact Survey special education teacher will need to provide information on: special education services, sensory capabilities, motor capabilities, computer access,communication abilities, academic skills and attention for each significantly cognitively disabled student they are responsible for administering the DLM AA to.

�The first questions in the survey pertain to communication.��For example, if a teacher indicates yes, a student uses

speech to meet expressive communication needs, then the follow?up question here would

be asked.��This question asks the teacher to choose the highest statement that describes

the student�s expressive communication with speech.�

Effectively all this data is then thrown into the program to create a student�s assigned complexity band which calculated automatically and stored in the

system.�Once the first testlet is created and given to the student the results of that test are used to either increase the complexity or decrease the complexity of the following assessments. I could find no data or estimates on the time it will take a special education teacher to complete the First Contact Survey for one child.

Because my job at Access Living is in part to represent families of disabled children in CPS primarily in disputes I am interested in this data that becomes part of the child's record and if it is significantly wrong or inconsistent with the records CPS has on a child I or a lawyer could use this data in an administrative proceeding or even in federal court against CPS. So actually the stakes are potentially very high here.

In theory the DLM AA should provide for a more objective assessments of the progress significantly disabled students are or are not making. But it is labor intensive. To be honest there was nothing clueless in the memo from Ms. Winston, I suspect she knows full well how much time all of this will take and assumes that special education teachers would have budgeted their time to do this, which may or may not be realistic depending on the number of significantly disabled students they are responsible for in one school day. As we all know a special education teacher's day does not end when the children go home, this new system will without question require teachers to spend additional non-instruction time related to assessment.

Rod Estvan

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