July 27, 2010
The Honorable Gerald L. Zahorchak
Secretary of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126-0333
Dear Secretary Zahorchak:
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 Department and your staff, you made several changes to Pennsylvania's accountability plan, which are now included in the amended plan that Pennsylvania submitted to the Department on July 16, 2010. I am pleased to approve Pennsylvania's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of Pennsylvania's requested amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, 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 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 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) or (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Thelma Meléndez de Santa Ana, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Ed Rendell
Amendments to Pennsylvania's Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of Pennsylvania's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Pennsylvania's complete accountability plan.
The following amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations:
Including in AYP determinations the proficient and advanced scores of certain students with disabilities assessed on alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards (Element 5.3)
Revision: Pennsylvania will include the proficient and advanced scores of eligible students with disabilities who are assessed on an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) in mathematics in determining AYP, provided that the number of those scores at the LEA and at the State levels, separately, does not exceed 2.0 percent of all students in the grades assessed.
The following amendment is not aligned with the statute and regulations and is therefore not approved:
Using a performance index to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP) for high schools (Element 3.2)
Revision: Pennsylvania will use its performance index (Pennsylvania Performance Index, PPI) to determine AYP for high schools only. Pennsylvania will continue to use the growth model for elementary and middle schools.
Pennsylvania Performance Index for high schools only:
|Achievement Level||Index Score|
|Advanced and Proficient||1.0|
|High Below Basic||0.4|
|Low Below Basic||0.2|