June 22, 2006
The Honorable Valerie A. Woodruff
Secretary of Education
Department of Education
The Townsend Building
P.O. Box 1402
Dover, Delaware 19903-1402
Dear Secretary Woodruff:
I am writing in response to Delaware's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, I am pleased to approve those amendments that are aligned with NCLB; the revised and fully approved plan that was submitted on June 1, 2006, will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter.
As you know, any further requests to amend the Delaware accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. I would also like to commend you again for meeting the requirements of NCLB and having a fully approved assessment system. Delaware must continue to provide information to the Department for peer review as it continues to develop its standards and assessments.
Please also be aware that approval of Delaware's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, 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.
NCLB has provided a vehicle for States to raise the achievement of all students and to close the achievement gap. We are seeing the results of our combined endeavor; achievement is rising throughout the nation. I appreciate Delaware's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Sue Rigney (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Ruth Ann Minner
Amendments to the Delaware Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendments. Please refer to the Department's website (refer to: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Delaware Accountability Plan.
How students who attend schools outside their school attendance area are included in AYP determinations (Element 1.2)
Revision: Delaware revised its system such that, in schools that serve students from other schools, where the students are 'tuition-based' special needs students, the district has the option of tracking the students back to the school of residence or to make the school that is providing the instruction the school held accountable for these students when determining adequate yearly progress (AYP). Whatever option the district decides for accountability purposes in 2006, the district will do the same in 2007. Delaware's NCLB stakeholder group will re-examine the issue in 2007.
Students who attain proficiency during summer school (Element 1.4)
Revision: Delaware revised its accountability system to include students who attain proficiency during a State summer school program. Beginning with school year 2005-06, a school's accountability rating will be re-calculated if students in grades 3, 5, and 8 in reading or grade 8 in mathematics who attend summer school re-take the assessment and score proficient. AYP determinations will still be calculated and released according to the existing rules prior to the start of the school year. Schools in improvement will move to the next level of interventions as required. If a student's score changes, the school's accountability rating will be recalculated and changed accordingly. For schools in improvement that make AYP and are re-classified, including those that are no longer identified as in need of improvement, the school will continue to offer services to its students for the remainder of the school year.
Use of confidence interval (Element 3.2)
Revision: Delaware clarifies that it uses a 98 percent confidence interval when calculating whether the school or district made AYP. The State will apply a 75 percent confidence interval when calculating whether the school or district made AYP through Safe Harbor.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: Delaware will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). Delaware will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, Delaware will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.