July 27, 2006
The Honorable Richard P. Mills
New York State Education Department
111 Education Building
Albany, New York 12234
Dear Commissioner Mills:
I am writing in response to New York'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 changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that New York submitted to the Department on July 11, 2006. A summary of the approved amendments is attached to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve New York's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, New York makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, New York 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 New York's accountability plan is not also an approval of New York's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of New York'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 New York will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sue Rigney (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor George Pataki
Amendments to the New York Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the State's approved amendments. For complete details, please refer to the New York accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
Inclusion of all schools (Element 1.1)
Revision: With the addition of a grade-3 assessment, New York now will "back-map" student achievement results to schools that only cover grades below grade 3.
Timely determinations of adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 1.4)
Revision: As a result of the implementation of new assessments, New York has requested to make delayed AYP determinations for the 2005-06 school year. New York will notify, no later than October 25, 2006, schools and districts whose AYP status depends on the 2005-06 grade 3-8 assessment results. At the beginning of the 2006-07 school year, all schools will have the same AYP status as during the 2005-06 school year. All schools that will not exit improvement status based on the 2005-06 data will implement the appropriate interventions prior to the start of the school year. If these schools do not make AYP based upon the 2005-06 assessment data, they will begin offering the next level of services. Schools and districts that did not make AYP for the first time based upon 2004-05 assessment data have been notified to plan for the possibility of offering public school choice, and the status of these schools will be determined when the data become available, but no later than October 25, 2006. In short, in all cases, all public schools in New York previously identified for improvement will continue to be required to implement interventions consistent with Section 1116 of ESEA. However, AYP determinations based upon 2005-06 data will be delayed until the results become available, but no later than October 25, 2006.
Rewards and Sanctions (Element 1.6)
Revision: New York will include information regarding its State system of rewards for public schools and districts.
Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) (Element 3.2b)
Revision: New York will amend the AMOs used for AYP to reflect the addition of 3-8 assessments in 2005-06. Due to the implementation of new assessments, the subsequent standard setting will occur in the fall 2006. Following the adoption of achievement standards on the new assessments, New York will revise the AMOs, including the 2005-06 AMOs. Please note that New York must submit the revised AMOs to the Department for review, approval and subsequent addition to the State accountability plan before October 25, 2006.
Intermediate Goals (Element 3.2c)
Revision: New York will revise its intermediate goals with the implementation of grades 3-8 assessments in English language arts and mathematics in the 2005-06 school year. New York will maintain its intermediate goals through the 2007-08 and starting in 2008-09, New York will establish intermediate goals that increase in six increments until 2013-14. Please note that New York must submit the revised AMOs and intermediate goals to the Department for review, approval and subsequent addition to the State accountability plan before October 25, 2006.
Inclusion of Students with Disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: New York will use the "proxy method" (Option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of interim flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). New York will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percent of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, New York will use this adjusted percent proficient to reexamine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year. This flexibility is only available for grades 3-8.
Inclusion of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students (Element 5.4)
Revision: New York will include in the LEP subgroup a student who had previously been considered a LEP student during the past one or two years to calculate AYP for schools, districts, and the State.
Other Academic Indicator (OAI) (Element 7.2)
Revision: New York will delay the implementation of attendance rate as the OAI for elementary and middle schools until the 2007-08 school year. New York will continue to use science assessments as the OAI for elementary and middle schools through the 2006-07 school year.
High School Test Scores for Accountability Purposes (Element 6.1)
Revision: New York revised the section pertaining to determining the percent proficient for high schools. Since students are allowed multiple opportunities to take assessments used for graduation, New York will use each student's highest test score on assessments required for graduation for high school accountability purposes.
Implementation of Grade 3-8 Performance Index (Element 8.1)
Revision: New York will expand its performance index to include assessments on reading/language arts and mathematics in grades 3-8 and high school.
Data Repository (Element 9.2)
Revision: New York's amended workbook will reflect the implementation of a new data repository system that will link student records over time using a state-assigned unique identifier.