July 26, 2006
The Honorable Bob Corkins
Commissioner of Education
Kansas State Department of Education
120 SE 10th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66612-1182
Dear Commissioner Corkins:
I am writing in response to Kansas' 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 Kansas submitted to the Department on July 17, 2006. I am pleased to fully approve Kansas' 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 Kansas 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 Kansas' accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system, including the Kansas Assessment with Multiple Measures or the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment.
Please also be aware that approval of Kansas' 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 Kansas' 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 Kathleen Sebelius
Amendments to the Kansas 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 Kansas accountability plan.
Timeline for making adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Elements 1.4 and 1.5)
Revision: Kansas will conduct standard setting for new assessments in August 2006, with preliminary AYP results available in September. At the beginning of the 2006-07 school year, all schools and districts will have the same AYP status as during the 2005-06 school year. All schools and districts that will not exit improvement status will implement the appropriate interventions prior to the start of the school year. If these schools and districts fail to make AYP based upon the 2005-06 assessment data, they will begin offering the next level of services. Schools and districts on the "watch list" (i.e., schools and districts that did not make AYP based upon 2004-05 assessment data) have been notified to plan for the possibility of offering services (i.e., public school choice) and must act immediately on the preliminary building assessment reports. Schools and districts previously identified as in need of improvement that make AYP for the first time will continue to offer the same level of services. Schools and districts previously identified as in need of improvement that make AYP for the second consecutive year based upon 2005-06 assessment data are no longer identified for improvement and no action is required.
Data collection process (Elements 2.3 and 10.1)
Revision: Kansas will implement a student-level record system, known as the Kansas Individual Data on Students (KIDS). This new system will be used to determine full academic year and the participation rate.
Modifying new starting points, annual measurable objectives (AMOs), and intermediate goals (Element 3.2)
Revision: Due to the new assessments being implemented for the first time in 2005-06, Kansas will establish new starting points, AMOs, and intermediate goals for reading and mathematics. Kansas will establish these elements using the procedures laid out in 34 CFR §200.16(b) and 200.18 by September 2006. Kansas must submit these starting points, AMOs, and intermediate goals to the Department for approval and subsequent addition to the State accountability plan before AYP determinations are released.
District determinations of AYP (Element 3.2)
Revision: Kansas clarified that it uses all applicable additional academic indicators within the district (both graduation rate and attendance rate) when determining whether the district made AYP. For a district to make AYP, it must meet the graduation rate goal or show improvement toward that goal from the previous year and meet the attendance rate goal or show improvement toward that goal.
The minimum number of students in each group (Elements 5.2, 5.5, 5.6, and 10.2)
Revision: Kansas will require that each group have a minimum of 30 students to be included in AYP determinations.
Students with disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Kansas will implement the Secretary's flexibility regarding modified academic achievement standards (see www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html.) For schools and districts that do not make AYP based solely on the students with disabilities subgroup, Kansas will include as proficient (up to a 2.0 percent cap at the district and State level) students who take the Kansas Assessment with Multiple Measures (KAMM), which assesses grade-level academic standards and is based on modified achievement standards. Please note that approval of this amendment by the Department does not constitute approval of the KAMM assessment by the Department as part of our responsibility to ensure that state standards and assessments meet NCLB requirements.
English language learner assessments (Element 5.4)
Revision: Kansas will no longer use the Listening Assessment for English language learner (ELL) students as an accommodation for the reading assessment.
English language proficiency assessments (Element 5.4)
Revision: Kansas will implement a new assessment, the Kansas English Language Proficiency Assessment (KELPA), for students enrolled in their first year of schooling in the United States. Consequently, Kansas will remove references to the previous English language proficiency assessments that will no longer be offered. Please note that approval of this clarification does not constitute approval of the KELPA assessment by the Department as part of our responsibility to ensure that State standards and assessments meet NCLB requirements.
Calculation of participation rates (Element 10.1)
Revision: Kansas clarified that students with invalid assessment scores are counted as non-participants for the purpose of calculating the participation rate.