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November 7, 2008 ED Review
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 November 7, 2008
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NCLB Update
Paying for College
Veterans Awareness Week
International Education Week
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Quote to Note
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NCLB Update

On October 28, in Columbia, South Carolina, Secretary Spellings announced final regulations to clarify and strengthen Title I of the No Child Left Behind Act. "NCLB has shined a spotlight on schools," she noted. "It is compelling grown-ups to do the right thing by kids. And, it's working. Children once left behind are making some of the greatest gains, but more work needs to be done. That's why I've taken a responsive, common-sense approach to implementing the law with today's announcement." These regulations reflect lessons learned over the past six years and build on work that states have made with their assessment and accountability systems. The Department carefully considered more than 400 comments received after issuing proposed regulations in April 2008 and made some substantive changes based on those comments. The final regulations address: (1) a uniform, comparable high school graduation rate; (2) improved implementation of public school choice and supplemental educational services (SES); and (3) assessments, accountability, and transparency.

A Uniform, Comparable Graduation Rate (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/proposal/uniform-grad-rate.html)

  • Uniform and Accurate Definition. For high school accountability, the regulation defines a "four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate" as the number of students who graduate in four years with a regular high school diploma divided by the number of students who enter high school four years earlier, adjusting for transfers in and out, émigrés, and deceased students. Students who graduate in four years include students who earn a regular high school diploma at the end of their fourth year, before the end of their fourth year, and, if the state so chooses, during a summer session immediately following their fourth year. (It does not include students who graduate with a modified diploma or certificate of attendance or through a General Educational Development [GED] program.) To remove a student from a cohort, a school or school district must confirm in writing that the student has transferred elsewhere, emigrated abroad, or is deceased. For students who transfer out of a school, the written confirmation must be official and affirm that the student has enrolled in another school or in an educational program that culminates in a regular high school diploma.

  • Timeline. According to a 2008 National Governors' Association report, a majority of states will have the capability to implement a four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate by the 2010-11 school year. Therefore, the regulation requires the rate to be reported at the high school, district, and state levels, in aggregate as well as disaggregated by subgroups, beginning with report cards providing results of assessments administered in the 2010-11 school year. For Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) decisions, states must use the rate at the school, district, and state levels, including disaggregated rates for all required subgroups, based on assessments administered in the 2011-12 school year.

  • Option to Use Extended-Year Rates. To give systems credit for students who take longer than four years to graduate with a regular high school diploma, the regulation permits states to propose, for approval by the Secretary, one or more "extended-year adjusted cohort graduation rates" that take into account such students. Any extended-year rates must be reported separately from the four-year rate. Moreover, states must describe how they plan to utilize one or most extended-year rates, along with the four-year rate, in determining whether their schools and districts make AYP, while holding them accountable for graduating the vast majority of their students within the four years.

  • Establishing Goals. Currently, to make AYP, most states expect schools to make minimal improvement from one year to the next or meet very low goals. The regulation requires states to submit for both peer review and approval by the Secretary a single graduation rate goal that represents what it expects all schools in the state to meet and annual graduation rate targets that reflect "continuous and substantial improvement" from the previous year toward that goal.

  • Disaggregating Data. Data shows large disparities in the graduation rates of subgroups of students. The regulation requires disaggregated graduation rates to be reported and taken into account for AYP. Prior to 2010-11, states are required to disaggregate the data by subgroup at the school, district, and state levels for reporting using either the four-year rate or a transitional graduation rate. In 2010-11, states are required to disaggregate the data by subgroup at the school, district, and state levels for reporting using the four-year rate. In 2011-12, states are required to use the four-year rate, disaggregated by subgroups, for all school, district, and state AYP determinations.

  • Extension. States that cannot meet the 2010-11 deadline for reporting the four-year rate may request an extension of time from the Secretary. States must: (1) submit their requests by March 2, 2009; (2) offer evidence demonstrating they cannot meet the deadline; and (3) provide a detailed plan and timeline addressing the steps they will take to implement, as quickly as possible, the four-year rate.

Improved Implementation of Public School Choice and SES (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/proposal/strengthening-choice.html)

  • School Choice Notification. Early notification to parents of their public school choice options is critical for parents to have time to make an informed decision. The regulation requires districts to alert parents about their option to transfer their child and their available school choices as far in advance as possible—but no later than 14 days before—the start of the school year.

  • SES Notification. It is important that a district's communication to parents about SES options be as straight-forward as possible. The regulation requires official notices to explain the availability and benefits of receiving SES, be "clear and concise," and be distinguishable from other information sent to parents regarding school improvement.

  • Posting Information on the Web. To make information more widely accessible, the regulation requires districts to prominently display the following on the district's web site: the number of students who were eligible for and who participated in choice and SES (starting with data from 2007-08 and for each subsequent year); a list of available schools to which students eligible to participate in choice may transfer for the current school year; and a list of SES providers approved to operate in the district and the locations where services are provided for the current school year. This regulation further requires states to post the following on the state's web site: the amount of funds each district must spend on choice-related transportation, SES, and parent outreach; the maximum per-pupil amount available for SES; and the SES providers that are able to serve limited English proficient students and students with disabilities.

  • Provider Approval Process. To ensure that states use a rigorous approval process that considers all relevant information before approving entities to serve as SES providers, the regulation requires states look at: (1) evidence from the provider that its instruction methods and content are aligned with the state's academic content and achievement standards and are of high-quality, research-based, and specifically designed to increase the academic achievement of eligible children; (2) information from the provider on whether it has been removed from any states' approved provider list; (3) parent recommendations or results from parental surveys, if any, regarding the success of the provider's program in increasing academic achievement; and (4) any evaluation results demonstrating that the provider's program has improved academic achievement.

  • State Monitoring of Provider Effectiveness. When monitoring the quality of an approved provider, the regulation requires states examine, at a minimum, evidence that the provider's program: (1) is consistent with the instruction provided and content used by the district and the state; (2) addresses students' individual needs as described in students' SES plans; (3) has contributed to increasing students' academic proficiency; and (4) is aligned with the state's academic content and achievement standards. As with provider approval, states are also required to consider any parent recommendations, results from parental surveys, and other evaluation results demonstrating the success of the provider's program in strengthening academic achievement.

  • State Monitoring of District Implementation of SES. States have always monitored districts, but the regulation requires states to develop, execute, and report on the standards and techniques for how they monitor their districts' implementation of SES.

  • Costs for Parent Outreach. The regulation allows a district to count the costs of providing targeted parent outreach and assistance toward meeting the obligation of spending an amount equal to 20% of the district's Title I, Part A funding on choice-related transportation and SES. The actual amount that may be counted is capped at 1% of the 20% obligation.

  • Maximizing Funds for School Choice and SES. Currently, unspent choice and SES funds may be reallocated for other purposes. Before reallocating any funds, the regulation requires districts to supply satisfactory evidence to the state that it has demonstrated success in: (1) partnering (to the extent practicable) with community-based organizations to inform students and parents of their choice and SES options; (2) ensuring students and their parents have had a genuine opportunity to participate (by offering timely and accurate notices; ensuring that sign-up forms are widely available, accessible, and have been distributed directly to eligible students and their parents; and providing a minimum of two enrollment periods, at separate points during the school year, for eligible students to sign-up to receive SES); and (3) ensuring that providers are given access to school facilities on the same terms as other outside groups.

Assessments, Accountability, and Transparency (http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/proposal/aat.html)

  • Assessments and Multiple Measures. There is a misunderstanding that accountability must be based on a single measure or form of assessment. The regulation clarifies states may use one test or multiple tests (e.g., reading and writing assessments to measure reading/language arts) and may use one format or multiple formats (e.g., multiple choice, extended response, etc.).

  • Strengthening State Assessment and Accountability Systems. The regulation requires the Secretary to create a National Technical Advisory Council (National TAC) to advise the Department on technical issues related to the design and implementation of state standards, assessments, and accountability systems, as well as on broad issues that affect all states. The National TAC is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which means its meetings are open to the public and its proceedings are available upon request. (Note: The 16-member National TAC, appointed by the Secretary on August 13, met on September 16 and will meet again on November 20.)

  • Minimum Subgroup Size and Including Students in Accountability. Currently, there are many students and subgroups of students excluded from AYP calculations. The regulation requires states to explain how the minimum subgroup size (N-size) and other components of their AYP definition (e.g., confidence intervals, performance indexes, definitions of "full academic year," etc.) combine to supply statistically reliable information. States are required to ensure the maximum number of students are included in AYP calculations. States are also required to report the number and percentage of students excluded from AYP calculations.

  • Including NAEP Data on Report Cards. The regulation requires states and districts to report the most recent results on state National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading and math tests and the participation rates for limited English proficient and students with disabilities on the same public report card they use to report state assessments. For state report cards, data must be disaggregated by student subgroups.

  • Including Individual Student Growth in AYP. The regulation sets the criteria that states must meet to receive authority (via a flexibility agreement) to incorporate individual student academic progress into their calculations of AYP. The criteria closely adhere to those established in the growth model pilot program.

  • Identifying Schools for Improvement. The regulation codifies current Department policy that districts may identify schools as in need of improvement if they do not meet annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in the same subject over consecutive years. On the other hand, districts may not limit identification to those schools that do not meet AMOs in the same subject for the same subgroup over consecutive years. A similar provision applies to district identification.

  • Restructuring. School restructuring must include a significant change in the governance of a school. The regulation requires: (1) interventions implemented as part of a school's restructuring plan must be more rigorous and comprehensive than those implemented as part of the earlier correction action plan; (2) districts must implement strategies that address the reasons a school is in restructuring; (3) when replacing school staff, districts may also replace the principal, although replacing the principal, alone, is not sufficient to constitute restructuring; and (4) the "other" option to restructure may include replacing the principal, so long as this change is part of a broader reform effort.

These final regulations were published in the Federal Register on October 29 (see http://www.ed.gov/legislation/FedRegister/finrule/2008-4/102908a.html). Generally, they take affect next school year. However, for specific provisions in the regulations, be sure to consult the timeline on pages 64498 and 64499. Also, the Department is preparing non-regulatory guidance that should be published by the end of the year. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/title1/. (Note: On October 30, the Department hosted a live webcast to discuss the regulations. You can watch the archived webcast at http://www.connectlive.com/events/deptedu103008/.)

Also: On November 13, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. ET, the Department will convene a national teleconference to further discuss the regulations and address questions from the field. The Title I Technical Review will feature senior officials who were involved with the development of the regulations and who will be involved with helping states, districts, and schools implement the regulations. The focus will be on regulations related to the high school graduation rate, public school choice, and SES. The review is designed to be interactive. Participants may ask questions during the call or, prior to the call, submit questions to NCLBregulations@ed.gov for consideration. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/reg/title1/telcon.html.

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Paying for College

The next "Education News Parents Can Use" broadcast (November 18, 8:00-9:00 ET) will explore the pressing issue of paying for college and advocate using federal aid first. To sustain our country's economic security and high standard of living in today's global marketplace, we must increase our citizen's access to and completion of a college degree. Yet, for many families, affordability remains the preeminent obstacle. In an effort to help families afford the opportunities of higher education, the Department has spent the past two years implementing many of the recommendations of the Secretary's Commission on the Future of Higher Education and her subsequent Action Plan for Higher Education. Key reforms to make college more affordable include: streamlining the FAFSA application; working with Congress to reauthorize the Higher Education Act; raising the Pell Grant award to its highest level and its largest increase in over 30 years; and ensuring better coordination among high schools and colleges to encourage low-income students to take the rigorous courses necessary to qualify for Academic Competitiveness (AC) and National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) grants. In addition, new tools like College.gov, FAFSA4caster, and College Navigator are helping millions of families navigate the process of selecting and paying for college. The broadcast will highlight federal student aid programs, tools, and resources; spotlight schools and districts that are implementing innovative initiatives and programs to help disadvantaged youth succeed in and pay for college; and provide tips to help parents plan for and finance college. For more information, please go to http://www.ed.gov/edtv/. (You can watch archived webcasts at http://www.connectlive.com/events/ednews/.)

Also: The College Board recently released its annual trends reports, "Trends in College Pricing 2008" and "Trends in Student Aid 2008," with new data on the price of higher education and the student aid available to help pay that price. For more information, please go to http://www.collegeboard.com/trends/.

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Veterans Awareness Week

National Veterans Awareness Week (November 9-15) reminds schools to invite veterans into their classrooms in the days leading up to and following Veterans Day (November 11). Veterans are asked to share their experiences and teach short lessons about the history and significance of Veterans Day, helping students reflect upon the ideals of liberty, freedom, and democracy. For more information, please go to http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/. (Note: A school kit, with sections for students and teachers, may be downloaded at http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/schoolkit.asp.)

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International Education Week

The following week is International Education Week (November 17-21), jointly sponsored by the Departments of Education and State. This year's theme is "Fostering Global Responsibility and Leadership," recognizing that, to meet the challenges of the world, all nations must work to develop future leaders who possess a comprehensive, open-minded worldview. For more information, please go to http://iew.state.gov/. (Note: For a list of planned activities across the globe, see http://iew.state.gov/events.cfm.)

Also: You are invited to attend the kick-off roundtable discussion on school-to-school partnerships on November 17, from 9:00-11:30 a.m., in the Department's auditorium (400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C.). Join representatives from the Embassy of France and Sister Cities for an interactive exchange and participate in real-time digital video interviews with students and teachers across France and the U.S. Please RSVP to (202) 401-0425 or International.Affairs@ed.gov.

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DataLab

DataLab (http://nces.ed.gov/datalab/), an exciting new web site from the Department's Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), puts a wide range of survey data collected by these offices at your fingertips. Whether you desire a quick number or an in-depth look at education data, the tools at DataLab are designed to meet your needs. For example, QuickStats, available now, is a guided table generator that allows users to produce a table to answer basic questions. PowerStats, available in spring 2009, will permit users to produce complex tables and run regressions.

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Loose Ends...

ED Review is in the public domain, so please feel free to send it to others in the office or your community who are interested in news and activities at the U.S. Department of Education. Sharing is easy: either forward the message (just as you receive it) or direct individuals to the web site at http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/ (where you will find the current and archived issues). Also, we are more than happy to add anyone to the original distribution list. Simply submit your name, title, organization, and email address to Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov.

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Quote to Note

"These final [Title I] regulations build on and strengthen the advances state have made with their assessment and accountability systems. We believe a small number of significant regulatory changes can make a real difference in sustaining and advancing the reforms brought about by the No Child Left Behind Act, pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.... In the absence of reauthorization, we believe these final regulations are necessary to further the interests of parents and children and to improve the implementation of NCLB in order to continue progress toward the goal of 100% student proficiency in reading and mathematics by 2014."

        Federal Register notice on the final Title I regulations (10/29/08)
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Upcoming Events

Over the next two weeks, the Department will be exhibiting at the National League of Cities' Congress of Cities and Exhibition in Orlando, FL (November 11-15); the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers' Meeting in Phoenix, AZ (November 12-16); the National Dropout Prevention Network's Annual Conference in Atlanta, GA (November 16-19); the National Alliance of Black School Educators' Annual Conference, also in Atlanta (November 19-23); and the National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX (November 20-23). If you are attending any of these events, please stop by the Department's booth.

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Credits, Subscribe & Unsubscribe

Please feel free to contact the Office of Communications and Outreach with any questions:
Director, Intergovernmental Affairs—Rogers Johnson, (202) 401-0026, Rogers.Johnson@ed.gov
Deputy Director—Keith Brancato, (202) 401-6178, Keith.Brancato@ed.gov
Program Analyst—Adam Honeysett, (202) 401-3003, Adam.Honeysett@ed.gov
To be added or removed from distribution, or submit comments (we welcome your feedback!), please contact Adam Honeysett. Or, visit http://www.ed.gov/news/newsletters/edreview/index.html.


This newsletter contains hypertext links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations. These links are provided for the user's convenience. The U.S. Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Furthermore, the inclusion of links is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

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Last Modified: 02/06/2009