August 28, 2007
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 of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the approved changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Maryland submitted to the Department on August 24, 2007, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2006-07 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, 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 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 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 Zollie Stevenson (Zollie.Stevenson@ed.gov).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Martin O'Malley
Amendments to the Maryland Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the State's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Maryland accountability plan.
The following amendments are approved.
Inclusion of students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: For 2006-07, Maryland will continue to take advantage of the interim flexibility (option 3 in our guidance dated December 2005) regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/070207.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 at the State and district level.
Use of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams as substitutes for the high school end-of-course assessments (Element 6.1)
Revision: Maryland is granted the flexibility, under section 9401 of the ESEA, to count a student as proficient in reading/language arts when determining AYP if the student scores a three or higher on the AP English Literature and Composition or the AP English Language exam or a five or higher on the IB English A1 exam in place of Maryland's English High School Assessment (HSA). In addition, Maryland may count as proficient in mathematics a student who scores a three or higher on the AP Calculus (AB or BC) or AP Statistics exam, or a five or higher on the IB Mathematical Studies SL or IB Mathematics (SL or HL) exam when determining AYP for high school in place of Maryland's mathematics HSA.
The Department recognizes that the AP and IB exams are of high quality and are tied to specific college-level course content. Maryland submitted sufficient evidence that the AP and IB exams meet or exceed the Maryland content standards and the proposed proficiency scores demonstrate that the students taking these substitute assessments have met the corresponding achievement standards. This flexibility agreement will permit Maryland to use the results of the AP and IB assessments in AYP calculations, thereby offering an assessment of college-level course content which may not in every case cover the full breadth of the Maryland high school content standards as required under 34 C.F.R. 200.3(a)(1)(i). This agreement is in effect for four years (the 2006-07 through 2009-10 school years) unless the reauthorization of the ESEA changes the requirements on which it is based. As required by section 9401(b)(3)(A) of the ESEA, within 30 days of the date of this letter, Maryland must provide all interested school districts with notice of this flexibility agreement and a reasonable opportunity to comment, submit any comments to the Secretary, and provide notice and information to the public about its use of the AP and IB assessments in the manner in which it customarily provides similar notice to the public. Maryland must also annually submit a report under section 9401(e)(1) of the ESEA to the Department at the end of each school year that describes its use of the AP and IB assessments.