July 2, 2010
The Honorable Kerri L. Briggs
State Superintendent for Education
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
Government of the District of Columbia
810 First Street NE, 9th Floor
Washington, DC 20002
Dear Superintendent Briggs:
I am writing in response to the District of Columbia’s request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). Following discussions between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff, you made changes to the District of Columbia’s accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that the District of Columbia submitted to the Department on June 7, 2010. I am pleased to approve the District of Columbia’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of the District of Columbia’s requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the District of Columbia’s accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of the District of Columbia’s accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that the District of Columbia will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact (Victoria.Hammer@ed.gov) or at Sue.Rigney@ed.gov).
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.Enclosure
cc: Mayor Adrian Fenty
Amendments to the District of Columbia’s Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the District of Columbia’s amendment requests. Please refer to the Department’s website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/ index.html) for the District of Columbia’s complete accountability plan
Removing references to phase two of the District of Columbia’s statewide longitudinal data system (Elements 1.4, 2.3, 5.2, 7.2, 7.3, 9.2)
Revision: The District of Columbia will remove references to the second phase of its new statewide longitudinal data system due to a change in the timeline on which this phase will be operational.
The accountability system incorporates, at a minimum, a definition of basic, proficient, and advanced student achievement levels in reading/language arts and mathematics (Element 1.3)
Revision: For the required reporting of high school science assessment data on its report card, the District of Columbia will use the scores of all students who take the biology assessment in the current year for proficiency calculations and determine participation rate calculations based on student enrollment in grade 11. <>
Including all students in the accountability system (Element 2.1, 5.3)
Revision: The District of Columbia will clarify its policy related to students that receive a read-aloud accommodation on the ESEA required reading assessment. Specifically, such students will be included as non-participants for purposes of calculating participation rates in determining AYP.
Determining whether student subgroups, public schools, and LEAs made adequate yearly progress (Element 3.2)
Revision: The District of Columbia will clarify its implementation of safe harbor to ensure that it complies with the statutory requirements. Specifically, the District of Columbia will state in its workbook that, to make AYP via safe harbor, “Any subgroup that did not meet the AMO [annual measureable objectives] must show improvement on the additional academic indicators (attendance or graduation rate), as specified in Elements 7.1 and 7.2.”
Including former students with disabilities in AYP determinations for two years (Element 5.3)
Revision: The District of Columbia will include, for two AYP determination cycles, the scores of former students with disabilities who no longer receive special education services when making AYP determinations for the students with disabilities subgroup.
Protecting the privacy of individual students in reporting achievement results and in determining whether schools and LEAs are making AYP on the basis of disaggregated subgroups (Element 5.6)
Revision: The District of Columbia will remove the reference to its examination of the feasibility of reporting assessment results as ranges of performance rather than exact percentages for students in a group who score at the same performance level and whose confidentiality is subsequently compromised.
Calculating the rate of participation in the statewide assessment (Element 10.1)
Revision: The District of Columbia will amend its calculation of participation rate to ensure that it complies with the statutory requirements. Specifically, the District of Columbia will determine participation rates at the subgroup and school level by dividing the number of test-takers by the enrollment for each group as of the first day of the testing window.
Identifying participation criteria for the District of Columbia alternate assessment (the District of Columbia Comprehensive Assessment System Alt or DC CAS Alt) (no particular element; the District of Columbia includes this as Appendix A of its accountability workbook)