Ed Week has an article here describing the effort to develop Common Core tests for severely disabled children. Academic knowledge--such as some knowledge of algebra--will be tested.
I invite people developing these alternative assessments to read this blog that a mother of a daughter with severe autism keeps: http://autismasithappens.blogspot.com/. It’s the best writing on severe autism that I’ve seen.
I can’t speak for that mother, but as a teacher myself, I know how difficult it is to test a class of children with normal intelligence, because they are all over the place. What is easy for one child is impossible for another. I can’t imagine deciding which academic skills are appropriate for severely disabled youngsters to learn. The children will have such different needs and abilities. That’s why the current model of the Individual Education Plan was developed.
And even if it’s possible for a severely disabled child to learn a little algebra, the question has to be asked: for that child, is that the most necessary thing he needs to know to function well? Perhaps it is, but perhaps it isn’t. We shouldn’t try to push all these kids into the same box.