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 18 states. ATLAS also develops and delivers customized alternate assessments in social studies for individual states.
I-SMART (Innovations in Science Map, Assessment, and Report Technologies), another project under ATLAS, 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.
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.
Read more about ATLAS's projects below:
Dynamic Learning Maps
This program developed out of a five year grant to form the consortium and develop a new Dynamic Learning Maps Assessment System using our Kite Suite of products that would meet federal assessment requirements. From the beginning, ATS has collaborated with DLM to develop the software to create and administer Alternate Assessments for the significant cognitive and disabled students across a collection of nineteen states using learning maps to align content that is designed to individually match the students’ levels in English Languages Arts, Mathematics and Science. Educators can apply instructional content followed up with embedded testlets through the year that is then retested in the spring or administer a series of testlets for the end of course or end of year assessment. DLM is a full service ongoing and self-funded project using multiple Kite Suite applications, Service Desk team, and entire development staff.
CETE collaborated with Center of Research on Learning to develop an assessment to measure reading motivation. ATS worked together with CETE to support this adaptive survey to be taken in KITE. Initial results were captured and continue to be of interest in furthering for educator insights.
The Center for Assessment and Accountability Research and Design (CAARD) is a center in the Achievement and Assessment Institute that began in 2016. CAARD’s primary mission is to improve student assessments in elementary and secondary schools. Staff at CAARD conduct research to improve assessment and accountability systems. They use their findings to directly assist states in designing effective assessment and accountability systems that provide useful feedback to students, educators, and policymakers for purposes of enhancing the success of every child, teacher, and school. CAARD is also home to the Enhanced Learning Maps project, an effort to refine classroom instruction to be more responsive to individual students’ needs.
ATS originally formed as part of the technology portion of Center of Educational Testing and Evaluation in supporting the Kansas Assessment Program's computer-based testing. ATS has continued to collaborate to support multiple assessment programs through grants and state contracts with the state of Kansas. ATS provides use of Kite applications, data management and service desk support in supporting assessments for the following programs:
Career Pathways Assessment System
Kansas Assessment Program
Making Sense of Science
Adaptive Reading Motivation Measurements
ATS has collaborated with Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) to develop and enhance a HIPPA-compliant web based application to capture data measurements and outcomes which demonstrate the impact of Family Health programming on children, youth and families across multiple states. The primary focus is to support early childhood programs to collect and report on child and family outcomes. It is licensed to funders or users who are interested in building data system capacity to demonstrate the success of early childhood programming
The Enhanced Learning Maps (ELM) project provides standards-focused materials that foster the conditions for improving student achievement, including online tools deliberately designed to support and inform personalized learning. ATS has collaboratively supported the project by providing infrastructure and software performance improvements for the learning map application.
Institute for the Advancement of Family Support Professionals
ATS has collaborated with CPPR to provide the support for the dynamic learning map, Career Compass assessments through a new web based application to support Family Service Professionals and Supervisors professional development. The project is provided through the HRSA MIECHV Innovation Grant and the Heising Simons Foundation. Project partners include Iowa Department of Public Health, Virginia Department of Health, Early Impact Virginia, University of Kansas Center for Public Partnerships and Research, and James Madison University's Health Education Design Group.
The Kansas Assessment Program (KAP) includes a variety of fixed and adaptive tests aligned to Kansas’ content standards, which help educators and policymakers evaluate student learning and meet the requirements for federal and state accountability. The major testing areas include summative, interim predictive, and mini-tests for the general student population. ATS supports KAP in working collaboratively with the Kansas State Department of Education (KSDE), educators from 321 school districts, and approximately 489,043 students.
The Kansas Assessment Program additionally offers a Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment to assess four domains in the English Language Proficiency standards. Our partnership with Achievement and Assessment Institute (AAI) has been to provide the computer based exams through the Kite applications allowing students to read, listen, speak and write in response to their summative assessments.
Making Sense of Science (MSS) is a program with two educational research firms, Empirical Education and WestEd. The aim of MSS is to empower science teachers. MSS collaborated with CETE and ATS to manage and deliver a 3-section science test to over 4,000 4th and 5th graders in Wisconsin and California.
ATS collaborated with KU-TPE (Transition to Postsecondary Education) to provide a web-based application that will allow their users to track and support course progressions for students with intellectual disabilities. Members can then use the supported tools within the application to collaboratively evaluate and support these students using the program by tracking their course accommodations, learning elements and adaptations used.
ATS supports KU Life Span Institute’s Beach Center on Disability’s Self-Determination Inventory (SDI) website and efforts in administering surveys to their users. ATS collaborated with KU Center on Developmental Disabilities' Beach Center to develop survey administration tools which measure an individual’s level of self-determination. The goal is to enable people, with or without disability, to objectively evaluate their own lives, perceptions of abilities, and how they are determining their own life course. The website was transitioned to ATS in 2017 when Survey Tracker was built and integration with Survey Tracker was added to SDI. Now SDI can manage participants and assign surveys to facilitate longitudinal analysis. ATS has developed ASL and Spanish versions of the SDI Student Report survey as well as new teacher surveys. Survey Tracker may also be used with other partners and websites.
The Career Pathways Assessment System (cPass®) offers high school students a way to measure their readiness for postsecondary education or entry into the workforce through innovative computer-based assessments and Career Competency Qualifications. ATS has supported the administration of these individual pathway assessments which are inclusive of many technology enhanced and performance based items. ATS collaborated with CPASS to design many new item types to support these assessments.
The Center for Public Partnerships and Research (CPPR) assists partners to address complex social issues by providing services in five main areas: research and evaluation, systems development, professional development, technical assistance, and performance management systems. CPPR currently benefits from more than 50 grants in the areas of early childhood, child welfare, child abuse/prevention, K-12 education and at-risk families. It has extensive experience with state, federal and community-based organizations to drive research and innovation and to build capacity. As part of the Achievement and Assessment Institute, CPPR can provide the technology to develop large-scale data collection portals. CPPR’s multidisciplinary team includes eight principal investigators and more than 40 additional staff.
ATS is collaborating to support software for this program which started in 2017 to assist in providing the computer-based system to administer the I-SMART project. The program’s focus is to bring rigorous science assessments to students across a collection of five states with significant cognitive disabilities and any students who are not meeting grade-level standards. Content will use a learning map to drive the level of the assessments delivered to the student using but not limited to branching adaptive tests through the Kite Suite.
The Beach Center on Disability, one of 15 centers within Life Span Institute (LSI) at the University of Kansas (KU), is a multidisciplinary research and training center committed to making a significant and sustainable positive difference in the quality of life of individuals and their families impacted by disability and the professionals who support them.
Beach Center Investigators are affiliated with KU's Department of Special Education, School of Education, but work with a number of other professionals in disciplines such as Psychology, Social Work, Speech and Language, Vocational Rehabilitation, and Occupational Therapy.
Over the years, Beach Center employees have provided international, national, state, regional, and local leadership and service in collaboration with individuals with disabilities, their families, community members, professionals, and policy leaders.