July 9, 2007
The Honorable Susan Castillo
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oregon Department of Education
255 Capitol Street NE
Public Service Building
Salem, Oregon 97310
Dear Superintendent Castillo:
I am writing in response to Oregon'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, the changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Oregon submitted to the Department on July 6, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve Oregon's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for 2006-07 is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the Oregon 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 Oregon'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 Oregon 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 David Harmon (David.Harmon@ed.gov).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Ted Kulongoski
Amendments to the Oregon 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 Oregon accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
General workbook clean-up (Elements 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 5.1, 5.3, 5.5, 6.1, and 8.1)
Revision: Oregon clarified the workbook in several instances, making non-substantive edits in order reflect current assessment practice in the State.
Including students who take a higher-grade assessment in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations (Elements 1.2 and 10.1)
Revision: Oregon will allow students to "target up" to take a higher-grade assessment when the teacher determines that the student has received the higher-grade content. This issue is most significant for mathematics and students enrolled in 8th grade who are taking the high-school assessments, but also affects a small percentage of students in all other grades. No single test score will be used to determine adequate yearly progress in more than one year.
Timely AYP determinations (Element 1.4)
Revision: Oregon will make late adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations following the start of the 2007-08 school year. Preliminary determinations will be made by August 28. Consistent with the steps required for other States that have requested to delay AYP determinations, Oregon will hold all schools and districts in their current AYP status for the start of the 2007-08 school year and continue to apply NCLB consequences, as applicable. In addition, the State should take the following steps:
- Schools currently identified for improvement will begin offering services before the beginning of the school year.
- Schools that begin offering services will not stop offering services if final AYP determinations indicate that the school is no longer identified for improvement.
- Schools that might be identified as in need of improvement for the first time for the 2007-08 school year will provide information to parents alerting them to the fact that public school choice might be offered if the schools is identified as in need of improvement.
- For schools identified as in need of improvement for the first time for the 2007-08 school year, districts and schools should begin offering public school choice as soon as preliminary results are available.
Including students with disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Oregon clarified that the Extended Career and Life Role Assessment (CLRAS) is no longer available for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.
Including limited English proficient students (Element 5.4)
Revision: Oregon clarifies its workbook to include several features of the Department's September 2006 regulations related to limited English proficient (LEP) students:
- The LEP subgroup will include former LEP students in the LEP subgroup for two additional years when determining AYP.
- A newly arrived LEP student enrolling for the first time in a school in the United States after the first school day in May of the prior school year will be exempted from taking the reading/language arts assessment and the results of the reading/language arts (if taken) and mathematics assessments will not be included in AYP determinations. Because Oregon tests its students multiple times throughout the year, with the final assessment window occurring in April, this clarification will ensure that each newly arrived LEP student is only exempted from one full administration of the State reading/language arts test.
- The results of the native language assessments offered by the State from students who do not meet eligibility criteria will be considered a modified test administration and the student will be counted as non-participants in AYP determinations.
Safe Harbor calculations (Element 9.2)
Revision: Due to the resetting of achievement standards for the 2006 07 school year in March 2007, Oregon will recalculate the achievement scores in 2005 06 using these new achievement standards in order to calculate Safe Harbor.
Including students without a valid assessment as non-participants (Element 10.1)
Revision: Oregon clarified that any of the following categories of students will be counted as non-participants:
- Students who take the CLRAS, the life-skills assessment formerly used as the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Oregon.
- Students who take assessments administered with modifications.
- Students assessed below the student's enrolled grade.
- Students with too few responses to yield a valid score.
- Students not enrolled in grade 9 or 10 who elect to take the high school assessment (scores from which may be banked for future AYP determinations) must take the State assessment corresponding to the student's grade level in order to be counted as a participant.
The following amendments do not comply with the statute or regulations. Therefore, they may not be included in Oregon's accountability plan.
Use of the other academic indicator (Elements 7.1 and 7.2)
The Department cannot approve Oregon's proposal that the State's other academic indicators not be used to further identify schools as in need of improvement. Section 1111(b)(2)(C) of the ESEA defines "adequate yearly progress" as including graduation rates for public secondary school students and at least one other academic indicator, as determined by the State, for all public elementary school students. Section 1111(b)(2)(C)(vii) provides the opportunity for States to develop additional academic indicators at the State's discretion. Section 1116(b)(1)(A) notes that, "a local educational agency shall identify for school improvement any elementary school or secondary school served under this part that fails, for 2 consecutive years, to make adequate yearly progress as defined in the State's plan under section 1111(b)(2)." While the Department has determined that this definition requires schools to be identified for improvement after it fails to make AYP for two consecutive years in the same subject (including the other State-defined other academic indicator or participation rate), the statute does not allow States to not identify schools for improvement that have failed to meet the State target for the other academic indicator for two consecutive year. Please note that section 1111(2)(D)(ii), which states that, States "may use [the other academic indicators] to identify additional schools for school improvement or in need of corrective action or restructuring," is referring to the additional academic indicators permitted in section 1111(2)(C)(vii) and not the required use of graduation rates and the elementary school indicator noted in section 1111(2)(C)(vi).