October 3, 2008
The Honorable Susan A. Gendron
Commissioner of Education
Maine Department of Education
23 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0023
Dear Commissioner Gendron:
I am writing in response to Maine'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 discussions between the Department and your staff, you made certain changes to your state accountability plan, which are now included in the amended state accountability plan that Maine submitted to the Department on September 30, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve Maine's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2007-08 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the Maine accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Maine's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, 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 Maine 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 Abigail Rogers (Abigail.Rogers@ed.gov) or Collette Roney (Collette.Roney@ed.gov).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor John Baldacci
Amendments to the Maine 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 Maine accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations:
Annual measurable objectives (AMOs) (Element 3.2)
Revision: With the transition to a 3-8 assessment system and the new Maine High School Assessment, Maine revised its AMOs and intermediate goals. The new AMOs are:
|Grades 3-8||High school|
Split assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Beginning in the 2008-09 school year, students with the most significant cognitive disabilities may take the alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards in one subject and the general assessment in the other as determined by the student's IEP Team.
Including students with disabilities in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: Maine will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the transition flexibility offered by the Department pursuant to its authority under 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) (see (hwww.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html) for calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup for the 2007-08 school year. If a school misses AYP solely on the basis of students with disabilities, a proxy that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students tested will be added to the percentage of students with disabilities in the school that were proficient. Maine will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2007-08 school year. The actual percentage proficient will be reported to parents and the public.
Including limited English proficient students in AYP determinations (Element 5.4)
Revision: Maine will take advantage of the flexibility offered to states in September 2006 (www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/060727.html). As part of this flexibility, Maine will include "former LEP" students within the LEP category in making AYP determinations for up to two years after they no longer meet the Maine definition for LEP student. Maine will also exempt recently arrived LEP students from one administration of Maine's state assessment for reading, and will not count the scores of recently arrived LEP students on mathematics and/or reading/language arts assessments for AYP determinations.
Science assessments (Element 6.1)
Revision: Maine clarified that beginning in Spring 2008, the high school science test will be the Maine High School Assessment (MHSA) science test. Please note that approval of this amendment does not constitute approval of the Maine science assessments, which must be submitted for review by a panel of external peers.