The Honorable Tony Bennett
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Indiana Department of Education
State House, Room 229
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2798
Dear Superintendent Bennett:
On behalf of Secretary Duncan, I want to thank you for your hard work in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA). As you may know, the Secretary will be traveling the country and listening to states, districts, and other stakeholders talk about the ways in which the ESEA can be improved. These conversations will inform the next reauthorization of the statute. In the meantime, we will push towards our reform goals under the authority of, and in accordance with, the existing statute and regulations.
I am writing in response to Indiana's request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following discussions between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff, you made certain changes to your state accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Indiana submitted to the Department on March 9, 2009. I am pleased to fully approve Indiana’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2008–09 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend Indiana'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 Indiana'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 Indiana will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessment and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Collette Roney (Collette.Roney@ed.gov).
Joseph C. Conaty
cc: Governor Mitch Daniels
Amendments to Indiana's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Indiana's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html)for Indiana's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Graduation rates for district AYP determinations (Element 1.2
Revision: Indiana clarified that graduation rates are used in AYP determinations at the district level
Annual AYP decisions (Element 4.1)
Revision: Indiana will move its annual assessments in grades 3-8 from fall to spring in the 2008–09 school year. For AYP determinations based on assessments administered in the 2008–09 school year, Indiana will use the fall 2008 test results. School improvement planning and parent options for the 2009–2010 school year will be based on these fall 2008 results. Beginning in the 2009–10 school year, there will no longer be a fall test administration; AYP determinations will be based solely on the spring test administration. For high schools, new spring end-of-course tests will be administered for the first time in the 2009–10 school year and used in AYP determinations at that time.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 5.3)
Revision: Indiana will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005 and described in the Department’s Non-Regulatory Guidance regarding Modified Academic Achievement Standards) to take advantage of the transition flexibility authorized by 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup. See the guidance at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html. Indiana will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to two percent of all students assessed. For the 2008–09 school 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, Indiana will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2008–09 school year.