April 12, 2005 Extra Credit
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April 12, 2005

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April 11
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Action Plan for FY05 to Increase State Capacity in Assessments, Instruction, and Accountability for Students with Disabilities
Part I: Support to Improve Assessments

The Department of Education will direct $14 million from current fiscal year resources to increase State capacity for rigorous assessment, instruction, and accountability for students with disabilities.

  • $5,000,000 for immediate technical assistance and support to States to improve assessments for students with disabilities.
  • $3,000,000 to provide technical assistance and support to States to improve instruction for students with disabilities.
  • $6,000,000 to conduct research on accountability for students with disabilities who are held to alternate and modified achievement standards.

The Office of Elementary and Secondary Education (OESE), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), and the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) will jointly implement the Action Plan detailed in today and tomorrow’s Extra Credits.

Support to Improve Assessments

Goal: To provide immediate support to States that agree to improve their assessments in exchange for greater flexibility of AYP requirements for students with disabilities.

Resources: $5,000,000 from OSERS

Develop a comprehensive "Tool Kit" with information to help States improve instruction and assessments for students with disabilities.

  • The Tool Kit will be completed this summer and include materials such as:
    • Examples of States with comprehensive assessment systems that appropriately address the needs of students with disabilities.
    • Guidelines for individualized education program teams to select the most appropriate assessment for students with disabilities.
    • Information for parents, teachers, administrators, and advocates.
    • Other materials/information that States determine are needed to help them transition from their current assessment system to a system that incorporates additional assessments.
  • To accompany the Tool Kit, funds will be provided for consultants to work directly with States to improve their assessments for students with disabilities.

Form a working group to assist the Department in ensuring that technical assistance is directly linked to improving student achievement.

  • The working group will provide input on topics such as the following:
    • Criteria with which States must comply in order to implement these provisions.
    • Transitions for AYP determinations in States that want the new flexibility and criteria to evaluate State's requests.
    • Content of the Tool Kit.
    • Research needed to improve assessment and instruction.
  • The working group will be formed in April 2005 and will include a broad array of knowledgeable individuals.

Announce FY05 Competition for Enhanced Assessment Grants.

  • OESE will soon announce the FY2005 competition for the Enhanced Assessment grants. These grants are awarded to States and State collaboratives to enhance the quality of assessment instruments and systems used by States for measuring the achievement of all students.
  • The Department has almost $12 million available for the 2005 competition. As per Congressional intent, one competitive priority will be improving the quality of accommodations and alternate assessments for special education students and limited English proficient students.

Specific funding levels are not included in this Action Plan, as the amount of funds devoted to students with disabilities will be determined by the number and quality of applications received by the Department.


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NCLB Extra Credit is a regular look at the No Child Left Behind Act, President Bush's landmark education reform initiative passed with bipartisan support in Congress.

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Last Modified: 04/12/2005