May 20, 2008
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 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 Oregon submitted to the Department on May 15, 2008. 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 the 2007-08 school year 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 of the ESEA.
Please also be aware that approval of Oregon'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 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) of my staff.
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 amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations.
Averaging data over multiple years (Elements 4.1, 5.5, 9.2, and 9.3)
Revision: Oregon will move from using a uniform two-year average for determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) to using the higher of the current year's score or a two-year average. When using only the current year's scores for determining AYP, Oregon clarified that it will require each district/school/subgroup to have at least 21 tested students. When using the two-year average, Oregon will continue to require a minimum total of 42 scores over the two years.
The following amendment does not comply with the statute or regulations. Therefore, it may not be included in Oregon's accountability plan.
Elementary/middle other academic indicator (Element 7.2)
Oregon requested to base the other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools - attendance rate - only on the attendance rate of students who attended more than 50 percent of the session days at the institution they were attending on the first school day in May, excluding students who are in a district special education program and who spent less than 40 percent of their time in a general education classroom. The district-level attendance rate would be calculated similarly to the school-level rate but would include students in district special education programs.
Section 1111(b)(2)(C)(vi) of the ESEA states that adequate yearly progress shall be defined in a manner that "includes…at least one other academic indicator, as determined by the state for all public elementary and secondary school students." Oregon has defined its other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools as attendance rate. Oregon has defined a "full academic year" as a student who attended more than 50 percent of the session days at the institution he/she was attending on the first school day in May. This request would exclude some students who meet this full academic year definition and were enrolled in the school but spent less than 40 percent of their time in a general education classroom. Thus, the request is not consistent with the statutory requirement to include all students in the other academic indicator.