January 6, 2005
Honorable Elizabeth Burmaster
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
P. O. Box 7841
125 South Webster Street
Madison, WI 53707
Dear Superintendent Burmaster:
I am writing in response to Wisconsin'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, those changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Wisconsin submitted to the Department on January 6, 2005. I am pleased to approve Wisconsins amendments. A list of the changes is attached to this letter. We will post Wisconsin's amended plan on the Department's website.
This letter also documents one aspect of Wisconsins amendments for which final action is still needed. Wisconsin wishes to apply a confidence interval to safe harbor determinations. Wisconsin may use this statistical test (limited to a 75% confidence interval) for making adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations this school year. We request, however, that Wisconsin provide impact data from the 2004-2005 AYP data regarding the use of this statistical test for "safe harbor" when available. These data will provide valuable information regarding this particular aspect of the accountability system.
If, over time, Wisconsin makes changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Wisconsin must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Approval of Wisconsin's accountability plan is not also an approval of Wisconsin's standards and assessment system. As Wisconsin continues to develop its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, Wisconsin must submit information about those efforts to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of Wisconsin'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 Wisconsin will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to Wisconsin in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
cc: Governor Jim Doyle
Amendments to the Wisconsin Accountability Plan
These statements are summaries of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Wisconsin Accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html
AYP Proficiency Calculations (Element 2.1)
Revision: All students are included in Wisconsin's accountability system. Total enrolled and tested for a full academic year is the denominator for accountability purposes, except the 95% participation rate where total enrollment at time of testing is the denominator.
Identification of districts for improvement (Elements 3.1, 3.2a, 4.1, 8.1)
Revision: Wisconsin will identify districts for improvement only when they do not make AYP in the same subject and all grade spans (i.e., elementary, middle, and high schools) for two consecutive years. In implementing this provision, States should 1) monitor districts that have not made AYP in one grade span but have not been identified for improvement to ensure they are making the necessary curricular and instructional changes to improve achievement, and 2) take steps to ensure supplemental services are available to eligible students from a variety of providers throughout the state (including in LEAs that have not been identified for improvement but that have schools that have been in improvement for more than one year).
Confidence Intervals (Elements 3.2a, 5.2, 7.1, 9.1, 10.1, 10.2)
Revision: Wisconsin will apply a confidence interval in making AYP determinations for reading and math proficiency. Wisconsin will use a 99% confidence interval for status AYP decisions regarding reading and math proficiency rates. Additionally, in computing safe harbor calculations, Wisconsin will use a 75% confidence interval.