May 1, 2006
The Honorable 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, I am pleased to approve those amendments that are aligned with NCLB; 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.
I would like to reiterate that any further requests to amend the Maryland 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 Maryland's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system. Maryland must continue to provide information to the Department for peer review as it continues to develop its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB.
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.
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 Maryland's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. I wish you continued success in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in your efforts to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Zollie Stevenson, Jr. (Zollie.Stevenson@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Robert Ehrlich
Amendments to the Maryland Accountability Plan
Amendments to the Maryland Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendments. Please refer to the Department's website (refer to: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Maryland Accountability plan.
Calculating AYP for High Schools (Elements 1.3, 3.1-3.2c, 8.1)
Revision: Maryland will "bank" scores of middle school students who have taken the State high school English 2 or algebra/data analysis assessments. The student's score and participation for determining whether the school and district made AYP will be included when the student enters high school. Middle school students will take the grade-level assessment in addition to the high school assessment. The middle school grade-level assessment will be used to calculate the AYP determination for that grade and year.
Use of AP and IB exams as substitutes for the HSA (Elements 1.3, 3.1, and 3.2)
Revision: Maryland will be granted a flexibility agreement for one year to include students who score a 3 or higher on the statistics, calculus, English language, and English literature Advanced Placement (AP) exams or a score of 5 or higher on the mathematics studies, mathematics, and English A1 International Baccalaureate (IB) exams as proficient when determining whether a school or district made AYP, in place of the algebra/data analysis and English 2 High School Assessment (HSA) exams.
The Department recognizes that the AP and IB exams are of high quality and are tied to specific college-level course content. The Department also recognizes that Maryland will use these substitute exams for only a small number of students who are either new to the State since having taken the course related to the HSA, such as children of military personnel who tend to move frequently, or who missed the State HAS, such as students who missed the exam due to a medical condition. Accordingly, the Department grants this one-year flexibility to Maryland while the State conducts an internal alignment study to determine whether the AP and IB exams meet or exceed the State HSA course content standards and whether the proposed proficiency scores are sufficient to ensure the student has met the State HSA achievement standards.
Including students with disabilities in AYP (Element 5.3)
Revision: Maryland will continue to implement the interim flexibility option announced by the Department on May 10, 2005, for students with disabilities (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/raising/disab-acctplan.html). For schools that do not make AYP based solely on the students with disabilities subgroup, school Individualized Education Program (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 student eligibility at 2 percent of these students in the calculation of AYP results for the State and districts.
Invalid Assessment Results (Elements 10.1, 10.2)
Revision: Maryland clarified that it considers students with invalid assessment score to be non-participants when determining AYP. Students without a valid assessment score count negatively in the participation rate.