July 15, 2008
The Honorable Steve Paine
State Superintendent of Schools
West Virginia Department of Education
Building 6, 1900 Kanawha Blvd. E.
Charleston, West Virginia 25305-0330
Dear Superintendent Paine:
I am writing in response to West Virginia'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 West Virginia submitted to the Department on June 30, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve West Virginia'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 West Virginia'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 West Virginia'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 West Virginia 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 Jessica Morffi (Jessica.Morffi@ed.gov) or Grace Ross (Grace.Ross@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Joe Manchin
Amendments to West Virginia's 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 West Virginia's complete accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: Consistent with 34 C.F.R. § 200.13(c)(5), West Virginia will establish a process for local educational agencies (LEAs) to request a waiver to exceed the 1.0 percent cap on the percentage of proficient or advanced scores of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take West Virginia's alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards that may be included in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations. In granting waivers, however, the state as a whole may not exceed 1.0 percent of all students in the grades assessed.
Limited English proficient (LEP) students (Element 5.4)
Revision: West Virginia clarifies the state's exit criteria for students in the LEP subgroup as follows:
- A student no longer meets the definition of LEP and no longer participates in alternative language programs or receives monitoring services; and
- A student scores above level five on the West Virginia Test of English Language Learning (WESTELL) for two consecutive years or tests proficient for two consecutive years on the West Virginia Alternate Performance Task Assessment (APTA); and
- A student scores at mastery level or above on the West Virginia Educational Standards Test (WESTEST), Reading Language Arts Assessment (grades 3-8 and10) or Reading Language Arts end-of-course exams (grades 9 and 11), or the student scores at mastery level or above on the APTA, alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards.
State assessments (Element 9.2)
Revision: West Virginia notes that it has developed new content standards to be effective, as approved by the state board, in the 2008-09 school year. New tests aligned with those standards will be administered in the 2008-09 school year.
Please note that approval of this amendment by the Department does not constitute approval of either West Virginia's new content standards or its new assessments aligned to those standards. West Virginia's new standards and assessments will be reviewed through the peer review process that is separate and distinct from the amendment approval process. In approving this amendment, the Department expresses no opinion on the sufficiency of either West Virginia's new content standards or its new assessments.
Definition of new school (Element 9.2)
Revision: West Virginia clarifies that a school will be considered a new school under any of the following conditions: (1) Two or more existing schools close and consolidate to form a new school; (2) A school experiences a change in grade configuration that involves at least 50 percent of the grade levels previously tested, either by elimination or addition; (3) A school experiences a change of at least 50 percent of the student population from the previous year. Based on the above criteria, the reconfigured or consolidated school must have been submitted through the county long-range Comprehensive Educational Facilities Plan and approved by the West Virginia Board of Education and the West Virginia School Building Authority.