July 5, 2005
Dr. Nancy Grasmick
State Superintendent of Schools
Maryland State Department of Education
200 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Dear Superintendent Grasmick:
I am writing in response to Maryland's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, those changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Maryland submitted to the Department on June 24, 2005. A list of the changes is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Maryland's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Maryland makes additional changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Maryland must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Maryland's accountability plan is not also an approval of Maryland's standards and assessment system. Maryland has submitted changes in its standards and assessment system to the Department for peer review and we have communicated the results of that review separately.
Please also be aware that approval of Maryland'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.
I am confident that Maryland will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to Maryland in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr.
Amendments to the Maryland Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Maryland accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
English High School Assessment (Elements 1.3, 3.1-3.2c, and 8.1)
Revision: Maryland will replace the Reading 10 Maryland School Assessment with an English II end-of-course assessment, thus permitting the State to determine high school performance in reading as required by No Child Left Behind. This change will also enable Maryland to use the assessment as the Maryland High School Assessment in English that is required for students to receive a Maryland High School Diploma. Maryland has submitted changes in its standards and assessment system, including the English II end-of-course assessment, to the Department for peer review and we have communicated separately the results of that review and the further information required.
District Improvement Status (Elements 3.2 and 5.1)
Revision: Maryland will identify districts for improvement only when they do not make AYP in the same subject and all three grade spans (i.e., elementary, middle, and high schools) for two consecutive years.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (Elements 2.1, 5.3 and 10.1)
Revision: Maryland will take advantage of the Secretary's interim flexibility regarding calculating AYP for students with disabilities by permitting a school or district to appeal its AYP determination if the school or district did not achieve AYP in the students with disabilities subgroup only. School IEP teams will review individual student IEPs to affirm the identity of those students who might have received proficient scores on a modified assessment if one had been available. Maryland will cap the student eligibility at 2% of these students in the calculation of AYP results for schools, school systems, and the state. AYP and School Improvement status will be adjusted accordingly when school appeals are approved.
Calculation of Participation Rate (Elements 10.1 and 10.2)
Revision: Maryland will use a uniform averaging procedure over a three-year period to determine AYP. The State will use data from the previous two years and the current year to average the participation rate for a school and/or subgroup. If the average meets or exceeds 95%, the school will meet this AYP requirement.
Revision: Maryland will omit students from the participation rate calculation when such students cannot take the State assessment during the entire testing window, including the make-up dates, because of a significant medical emergency.