University Designated Centers and Institutes

Accessible Teaching, Learning, and Assessment Systems (ATLAS)

Director:  Meagan Karvonen


Link to website

ATLAS logo

ATLAS promotes learning by creating accessible and academically rigorous technology-based learning and assessment systems. The center serves students with disabilities, struggling learners, and teachers through several projects focused on improving student outcomes. 

The center’s primary assessment system, Dynamic Learning Maps® (DLM®), is designed for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. DLM assessments are available in English language arts, mathematics, and science and are administered in 20 states. ATLAS also develops and delivers customized alternate assessments in social studies for individual states.

ATLAS partners with the Kansas State Department of Education to provide the Kansas Assessment Program, including general summative assessments in English language arts, mathematics, and science, to support educators and policymakers in evaluating student learning and to meet the requirements for federal and state accountability. The Kansas Assessment Program also includes interim academic assessments, the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA), and the Career Pathways Assessment System (CPASS), which provides assessments to test high school students’ readiness for technical training or entry into the workforce. The Kansas Assessment Program also includes Dynamic Learning Maps and, beginning in 2020, Enhanced Learning Maps.

The Enhanced Learning Maps (ELM) project, a four-year project funded by the United States Department of Education to rethink formative assessment with our partner teachers in Alaska, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The project builds on years of academic research into how to best use assessment for enhancing student achievement. ELM participating teachers receive access to a library of specially made instructional materials to be used in conjunction with the project’s proprietary learning map software, which visually depicts for teachers the many learning targets students must successively reach in pursuit of full understanding of academic standards. These tools collectively allow teachers to use formative assessment to learn how to best personalize their instruction to meet each individual student’s needs. The project seeks to serve as a shining example of properly implemented assessment for learning.

I-SMART (Innovations in Science Map, Assessment, and Report Technologies) is a four-year research project that seeks to bring rigorous science assessments to students with significant cognitive disabilities and other struggling learners. I-SMART’s goal is to narrow the gap between the Next Generation Science Standards and existing learning models in order to increase science achievement.

5E-Model Professional Development in Science Education for Special Educators (5E-SESE) is a development and innovation project to help teachers develop necessary knowledge and skills to provide effective inquiry-based science instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The 5E-SESE system includes professional development modules and instructional coaching.

The SWIM (Shared Writing Instructional Model) project is focused on writing instruction designed to help students with intellectual disabilities in grades K-5 meet challenging writing objectives aligned to grade-level content standards. The SWIM project also supports teachers through an online dashboard as well as coaching supports for implementation of the model.

ATLAS’s learning map models, assessment design, and teacher resources are informed by the center’s research projects and by innovations in psychometrics that support the measurement of map-based learning. ATLAS fosters partnerships with diverse organizations that share our focus and commitment.

 


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