August 1, 2006
The Honorable Suellen K. Reed
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Indiana Department of Education
State House, Room 229
Indianapolis, IN 46204-2798
Dear Superintendent Reed:
I am writing in response to Indiana'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, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Indiana submitted to the Department on July 28, 2006. I am pleased to fully approve Indiana's plan, which 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 Indiana 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.
Please also be aware that approval of Indiana'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 Indiana'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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) or David Harmon (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
Governor Mitch Daniels
Amendments to the Indiana 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 Louisiana accountability plan.
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) to take advantage of the interim flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). Indiana 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, Indiana will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.
Including limited English proficient (LEP) students in AYP (Element 5.4)
Revision: Indiana will delete from its workbook the Indiana Standards Tool for Alternate Reporting (ISTAR) as the assessment for LEP students who fail to meet the State's English proficiency standards and who have been enrolled in schools in the United States for less than three years. All LEP students who took the ISTAR in the fall of 2005 will be counted as non-participants for current AYP determinations. In fall 2006, all LEP students who have been enrolled in U.S. schools for at least one year will be tested with the ISTEP with appropriate accommodations. Indiana will not include the ISTAR for LEP students in its accountability system until the assessment receives Department approval.
Identification and criteria for new schools (Element 9.3)
Revision: Indiana clarifies that the threshold criteria for defining a "new" school is a change of:
- At least 50 percent of the student population from the previous year; or
- Grade configuration that involves at least 50 percent of the former grade levels, either by elimination or addition;
Either of these changes can be accompanied by significant change in educational philosophy or staffing. The AYP history of the school will be considered, and there must be no evidence that the change was made to avoid accountability. The preponderance of the evidence must reasonably lead to the conclusion that comparisons cannot fairly be made to the previous year's performance. If at least 50 percent of the students in a "new" school would have received Supplemental Educational Services (SES) in the previous school, the Indiana Department of Education requires the LEA to continue SES eligibility in the new school until it demonstrates AYP for two consecutive years.