The Honorable Dwight Johnson
Idaho State Board of Education
650 West State Street
P.O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720-0037
The Honorable Marilyn Howard
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Idaho Department of Education
Len B. Jordan Office Building
650 West State Street
P. O. Box 83720
Boise, Idaho 83720
Dear Mr. Johnson and Dr. Howard:
I am writing in response to Idaho'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 and included in an amended State accountability plan that Idaho submitted to the Department on July 19, 2006. The revised and fully approved plan 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 Idaho accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Idaho's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Idaho'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 Idaho'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 David Harmon (David.Harmon@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor James Risch
Amendments to the Idaho accountability plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendments. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Idaho accountability plan.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Elements 3.2 and 5.3)
Revision: Idaho will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the interim flexibility in determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). Idaho 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 percent 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, Idaho will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005–06 school year.
Identification of LEAs for improvement (Element 3.2)
Revision: Idaho clarifies that a local educational agency (LEA) is identified for improvement when it misses AYP in the same subject and same grade span for two consecutive years or misses the other academic indicator in the same grade span for two consecutive years.
Definition of LEP students (Element 5.4)
Revision: Idaho's State rule regarding limited English proficient (LEP) students has been changed to more closely mirror the federal definition and requirements. LEP students who receive a score in the low range on the State Board of Education approved language acquisition proficiency test and have an Education Learning Plan (ELP) shall be given the Idaho Standards Achievement Tests (ISAT) with accommodations or adaptations as outlined in the ELP. In addition, for AYP calculations, students can be categorized as LEP students for two years after testing proficient on the language proficiency test and exiting the LEP program. LEP students who do not have an ELP or a language acquisition score will be given the regular ISAT without accommodations or adaptations.
Graduation rate (Element 7.1)
Revision: Idaho will first determine whether each school met the State's 90 percent target or improved its graduation rate over the previous year. All schools with more than 100 students in the graduating cohort will continue to have AYP determined by this formula. Schools with graduating cohorts from 35–100 students will have graduation rates calculated to determine whether they have improved or reached 90 percent. A three-year rolling average of graduation rates will be applied to calculate AYP when they fail to meet 90 percent in the current year. For small schools at or below the State's minimum subgroup size of 34 students in the graduating cohort, Idaho will conduct a small school review for those schools that do not make AYP using the above methods. For these small schools, final AYP determination will be based on whether 1 student per year, or 4 students total, dropped out of the school. For student groups with less than 10 students, the graduation rate goal of 90 percent or improvement toward the goal will be applied at the LEA and State levels.
Participation rate (Element 10.1)
Revision: Idaho clarifies that students with invalid assessment scores are counted as non-participants when calculating the participation rate and that, when using an average across years to determine the participation rate, the participation rate will be a weighted average.