FR Doc E9-23467[Federal Register: September 29, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 187)]
[Notices]               
[Page 49869-49871]
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[DOCID:fr29se09-45]         

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Assessment Governing Board; Public Hearings

AGENCY: U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment Governing 
Board.

ACTION: Notice of public hearing.

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SUMMARY: The National Assessment Governing Board is announcing a public 
hearing on November 9, 2009 to obtain comment on expert panel 
recommendations on uniform national rules for testing of Students with 
Disabilities (SD) and English Language Learners (ELL) on the National 
Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
    Public and private parties and organizations are invited to present 
written and/or oral testimony. The hearing will be held in the Phoenix 
Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC 20001 from 
9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST.
    This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of a 
forthcoming public hearing of the National Assessment Governing Board. 
This notice also describes the functions of the Board. Notice of this 
meeting is required under Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory 
Committee Act. This document is intended to notify members of the 
general public of their opportunity to provide comment. Individuals who 
will need special accommodations in order to attend the hearing (such 
as interpreting services, assistive listening devices, materials in 
alternative format) should notify Munira Mwalimu at 202-357-6938 or at 
Munira.Mwalimu@ed.gov no later than November 4, 2009. We will attempt 
to meet requests after this date, but cannot guarantee availability of 
the requested accommodation. The meeting site is accessible to 
individuals with disabilities.

DATES: November 9, 2009.
    Location: Phoenix Park Hotel, 520 North Capitol Street, NW., 
Washington, DC 20001. The hotel may be reached via the Union Station 
Metro.
    Time: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST.

Background

    Under Public Law 107-279, the National Assessment Governing Board 
(NAGB) is responsible for determining the content and methodology of 
the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The assessment 
is required to provide a fair and accurate measurement of student 
academic achievement through a random sampling process that produces 
representative data for the nation, the States, and other participating 
jurisdictions.
    Despite changes in policy during the past decade, variations in 
inclusion and accommodation rates continue for students with 
disabilities and English language learners among States and urban 
districts participating in the National Assessment. These differences--
both between jurisdictions and over time--continue to prompt concern 
about the fairness and comparability of NAEP results.
    The Governing Board has established an Ad Hoc Committee of Board 
members to conduct a comprehensive examination of NAEP testing and 
reporting of these two student groups. The Committee appointed two 
technical advisory panels to recommend uniform national rules for NAEP 
testing of SD and ELL students to better assure that NAEP samples are 
fully representative and produce comparable results. These panels 
reported to the Board at its meeting on August 6 and 7, 2009. The Board 
plans to consult widely before deciding whether or not to adopt the 
expert panel recommendations.
    The reports and recommendations being considered are available 
under

[[Page 49870]]

supplementary information in this notice and on the website of the 
Governing Board at http://www.nagb.org. Other related material on the 
Governing Board and NAEP may be found at this Web site and at 
http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard.
    The Board is seeking comment from policymakers, teachers, 
researchers, State and local school administrators, specialists in SD 
and ELL students, parents of children in elementary and secondary 
schools, representatives of interested organizations, and members of 
the public. Representatives of the Governing Board will conduct the 
hearing to receive testimony, and may ask clarifying questions or 
respond to presentations. Oral presentations should not exceed ten 
minutes. Testimony will become part of the public record.
    All views will be considered by the Ad Hoc Committee and the full 
Board. It is anticipated that the Committee will make recommendations 
to the Governing Board at the Governing Board meetings on November 19-
21, 2009 and March 4-6, 2010.
    To register to present oral testimony on November 9, 2009 at the 
Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington, DC, please call Tessa Regis, of the 
National Assessment Governing Board staff, at 202-357-7500 or send an 
e-mail to tessa.regis@ed.gov by 4 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Friday, 
November 6, 2009. Written testimony should be sent by mail, fax or e-
mail for receipt in the Board office by November 10, 2009.
    The Board will make an effort to hear testimony from all persons 
who wish to address it at the hearing without prior registration. 
Speakers are encouraged to bring written statements for distribution at 
the hearing.
    Testimony should be sent to: National Assessment Governing Board, 
800 North Capitol Street, NW. -- Suite 825, Washington, DC 20002, 
Attention: Tessa Regis, FAX: (202) 357-6945, E-mail: 
tessa.regis@ed.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tessa Regis or Lawrence Feinberg, 
National Assessment Governing Board, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., 
Suite 825, Washington, DC 20002-4233, Telephone: (202) 357-6938.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The National Assessment Governing Board is 
established under section 412 of the National Education Statistics Act 
of 1994, as amended. The Board formulates policy guidelines for the 
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). The Board's 
responsibilities include selecting subject areas to be assessed, 
developing assessment specifications and frameworks, designing the 
methodology of the assessment, developing appropriate student 
achievement levels for each grade and subject tested, developing 
standards and procedures for interstate and national comparisons, 
developing guidelines for reporting and disseminating results, and 
releasing initial NAEP results to the public.
    The expert panel recommendations being considered by the Governing 
Board are summarized below. They are not mutually exclusive. Some could 
go into effect quickly while others would be for medium-term or long-
range implementation. NAEP is a representative-sample survey, designed 
to produce valid, comparable data on the academic achievement of large 
groups of students. It is prohibited by law from providing results for 
individual children or schools. The recommendations are being 
considered because of concern that variations in exclusion and 
accommodation practices may jeopardize the fairness and comparability 
of NAEP results.
    The recommendations on which public comment is sought are 
summarized as follows:

By Expert Panel on Uniform National Rules for NAEP Testing of Students 
With Disabilities

    (1) Encourage as many students as possible to participate in NAEP, 
and provide for the use of allowable accommodations that are necessary 
to enable students with disabilities to participate.
    (2) Clarify and expand NAEP's guidance to schools, encouraging 
maximum participation of students with disabilities so at least 95 
percent of those drawn for the NAEP sample participate.
    (3) Report separately on students who have individualized education 
programs (IEPs) and those with Section 504 plans, but (except to 
maintain trend) only count the students with IEPs as students with 
disabilities.
    (4) Provide incentives for schools to include students with 
disabilities, including additional outreach and public reporting of 
participation rates below 95 percent of students with disabilities.
    (5) Support research efforts to develop targeted testing for 
students at both the top and bottom levels of achievement, with sound 
procedures to identify students to receive targeted test booklets on 
the basis of their performance on some standard indicator of 
achievement.
    (6) Encourage and review research on the identification and 
progress of students who have a significant cognitive disability but in 
the short term do not test this 1% of students on NAEP.
    (7) Assess the English language proficiency of students with 
disabilities who are English language learners and are drawn for the 
NAEP sample and provide linguistically appropriate accommodations for 
those who need them before determining whether additional 
accommodations may be needed to address any disabilities those students 
may have.

By Expert Panel on Uniform National Rules for NAEP Testing of English 
Language Learners

    (1) ELLs in all States and districts selected for the NAEP sample 
who have been in United States schools for one year or more should be 
included in the National Assessment. This policy should be implemented 
with the disaggregated reporting of ELL test results by detailed 
information on students' English language proficiency and the 
availability of accommodations that maximize meaningful participation.
    (2) Students should be offered ELL-responsive accommodations that 
maintain the constructs in the NAEP framework, including items and 
directions in plain language, side-by-side bilingual Spanish-English 
test booklets, word-to-word bilingual glossaries without definitions, 
as well as other accommodations currently allowed by NAEP. The 
accommodations for each student should be selected at the local level 
by school personnel who are qualified to make judgments regarding the 
inclusion of the ELL in NAEP, including knowledge of his or her level 
of English language proficiency.
    (3) NAEP results for ELL students should be disaggregated and 
reported by the best available standardized assessment data on the 
level of English language proficiency.
    (4) To attain comparable participation rates across States and 
districts, special efforts should be made to inform and solicit the 
cooperation of State and local officials who decide upon the 
participation of individual students, including joint planning sessions 
and targeted information sharing. A high common goal for 95 percent or 
more of ELL students sampled to participate should be established.
    (5) NAEP should adopt an aggressive timeline for innovation and 
research, including (a) the development of test items written in plain 
language; (b) a short test of English language proficiency; (c) 
targeted testing with blocks of items at low and high levels of 
difficulty; and (d) computerized

[[Page 49871]]

administration of the assessment when feasible.
    The full reports and recommendations of the technical advisory 
panels are available at 
http://nagb.org/newsroom/PressReleasePDFs/SD-Panel-Report.pdf and 
http://nagb.org/newsroom/PressReleasePDFs/ELL-Panel-Report.pdf. 
PowerPoint summaries are available at 
http://nagb.org/newsroom/PressReleasePDFs/PPt-SD-Panel-Report.pdf and 
http://nagb.org/newsroom/PressReleasePDFs/PPt-ELL-Panel-Report.pdf.
    A detailed summary of the hearing that is informative to the public 
and consistent with the policy of section 5 U.S.C. 552b(c) will be 
available to the public within 14 days of the meeting. Records are kept 
of all Board proceedings and are available for public inspection at the 
U.S. Department of Education, National Assessment Governing Board, 
Suite 825, 800 North Capitol Street, NW., Washington, DC, from 
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You may view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html. 
To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is 
available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, 
call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free at 1-888-293-
6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: September 24, 2009.
Cornelia S. Orr,
Executive Director, National Assessment Governing Board, U. S. 
Department of Education.
[FR Doc. E9-23467 Filed 9-28-09; 8:45 am]

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