July 21, 2006
The Honorable Jim McBride
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Wyoming Department of Education
2300 Capitol Ave, 2nd Floor
Cheyenne, Wyoming 82002-0050
Dear Superintendent McBride:
I am writing in response to Wyoming'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 our discussions with your staff, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Wyoming submitted to the Department on July 19, 2006. I am pleased to fully approve Wyoming's plan, which will be posted on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter.
As you know, any further requests to amend the Wyoming accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Wyoming's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Wyoming'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.
NCLB has provided a vehicle for States to raise the achievement of all students and to close the achievement gap. We are seeing the results of our combined endeavor; achievement is rising throughout the nation. I appreciate Wyoming's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Sue Rigney (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor David Freudenthal
Amendments to the Wyoming accountability plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendments. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Wyoming accountability plan.
Implementation of new assessments (Element 1.1)
Revision: Wyoming revised the workbook to remove references to the old assessments (the Wyoming Comprehensive Assessment System (WyCAS) and to include references to the implementation of the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS). In addition, Wyoming clarifies that the move from grade-span assessments to 3–8 testing means that there are fewer schools without a tested grade that need to be “paired” to another school for the purposes of determining AYP. Consequently, the list in the workbook has been reduced.
Peer review (Element 1.3)
Revision: Wyoming clarifies that the standards and assessment system was peer reviewed in February 2006 and re-reviewed in May 2006.
Timeline for AYP determinations (Element 1.4)
Revision: Wyoming will, for adequate yearly progress (AYP) following the 2005–06 school year, release results by August 1, with a 15-day window for appeals and release final determinations by August 15. For 2006–07 and all years thereafter, preliminary AYP results will be made by July 15, with a 15-day window for appeals. Final determinations will be made by August 1.
Annual measurable objectives (Element 3.2c)
Revision: Wyoming clarifies that with the implementation of a new assessment system in 2005–06, the State will revise the starting points, annual measurable objectives (AMOs), and intermediate goals following the 2006–07 administration, when there are two years of data available. This is due to the fact that the State has small student numbers.
Grade configurations for AYP determinations (Element 4.1)
Revision: Wyoming will use a weighted percentage of students proficient within each grade to determine AYP. The reason for this is the implementation of assessments in grades 3–8 and high school and the fact that Wyoming has separate AMOs by grade span. The total percentage proficient in each school will be determined through a weighted average of the students in each grade who are proficient as a percentage of the total tested student population in the school.
Description of the new alternate assessment (Element 5.3)
Revision: Wyoming clarifies the description of the new alternate assessment.
Safe harbor calculations (Element 5.5)
Revision: Due to the implementation of a new assessment system in the 2005–2006 school year, Wyoming will base Safe Harbor calculations on data solely from the grades assessed in 2004–2005. To provide a comparison between the data from WyCAS in 2004–05 and PAWS in 2005–06, the State will implement an equi-percentile procedure for this year only. When comparing results from May 2004 to results from May 2005, Wyoming will determine the statewide cut-score on the PAWS assessment in 2006 where there is an equivalent percentage that scored proficient on the WyCAS in 2005. Using this statewide cut-score on the PAWS, all schools will compare the percentage proficient on the WyCAS compared to the percentage that reached the comparison cut-score on the PAWS.
Participation rate (Element 10.1)
Revision: Wyoming clarifies that students with invalid assessment scores are counted as non-participants when calculating the participation rate and that the State uses a weighted participation rate when averaging data across years.