May 09, 2011
The Honorable Ronald J. Tomalis
Acting Secretary of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126-0333
Dear Acting Secretary Tomalis:
I am writing in response to Pennsylvania’s request to amend its state accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA). Following discussions between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff, Pennsylvania made a change to its accountability plan, which is now included in the amended plan that Pennsylvania submitted to the Department on January 11, 2011. I am pleased to approve Pennsylvania’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of Pennsylvania’s requested amendment is enclosed with this letter. Any further requests to amend Pennsylvania’s 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 Pennsylvania’s accountability plan for Title I, including the amendment 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 Pennsylvania 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, assessment, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact (Vicki.Robinson@ed.gov) of my staff.
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Tom Corbett
Amendment to Pennsylvania’s Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Pennsylvania’s amendment request. Please refer to the Department’s website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Pennsylvania’s complete accountability plan.
Including in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations students with disabilities assessed on alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) (Element 5.3)
Revision: Pennsylvania updated its Accountability Workbook to include references to its AA-MAAS for reading and science, which will be operational for the first time in the 2010–2011 school year.
In accordance with 34 C.F.R. § 200.13(c)(2)(ii), in calculating AYP, Pennsylvania may count the proficient and advanced scores of eligible students with disabilities who take the AA-MAAS, provided that the number of those scores, at the LEA and State levels, separately, does not exceed two percent of all students in the grades assessed.
In addition, please note that approval of this amendment does not constitute approval of Pennsylvania’s AA-MAAS for reading and science, which must be approved through the Department’s regular peer review process for standards and assessments.