April 25, 2008
Dr. Lyonel Tracy
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
Dear Commissioner Tracy:
I am writing in response to New Hampshire'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 are now included in an amended state accountability plan that New Hampshire submitted to the Department on April 22, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve New Hampshire'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 the New Hampshire 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 New Hampshire'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 New Hampshire 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 Martha Snyder (firstname.lastname@example.org), Leighann Lenti (email@example.com), or Sue Rigney (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor John Lynch
Amendments to the New Hampshire 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 the complete New Hampshire accountability plan.
The following amendments are aligned with statute and regulations.
Index system (Element 3.2)
Revision: New Hampshire will continue to use the index system approved in 2005-06 and 2006-07 for adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations. New Hampshire will allocate 100 index points for performance at the Proficient with Distinction and Proficient levels, 80 points for the upper portion of Partially Proficient, 60 points for the lower portion of Partially Proficient, 40 points for the upper portion of Substantially Below Proficient, 20 points for the lower portion of Substantially Below Proficient and 0 points for No Score.
Annual measurable objectives (Element 3.2)
Revision: With the transition to a new high school assessment, New Hampshire has revised its starting points, annual measurable objectives, and intermediate goals based upon these new assessments and its performance index.
Safe Harbor (Element 3.2)
Revision: With the transition to a new high school assessment, New Hampshire will use a transitional measure to determine safe harbor by comparing the NHEIAP assessment results from May 2006 to NECAP results from October 2007 using an equi-percentile comparison.
The following amendment is not aligned with the statute and regulations and is therefore not approved.
Including Students with Disabilities (Element 5.3)
New Hampshire requested to use the "proxy method" to take advantage of the transition flexibility authorized by the Department's April 2007 regulations regarding the development of alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards for certain students with disabilities. To be eligible for this flexibility, a state must meet the criteria established in the Department's April 2007 guidance, including having an approved assessment system (see: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/nclb/twopercent.doc). Because New Hampshire's assessment system is currently Approval Pending and will not be approved for 2007-08, the state is not eligible to use the transition flexibility for 2007-08 adequate yearly progress determinations.