April 6, 2000
Dear Chief State School Officer:
I would like to share with you some of the lessons we learned from February's pilot peer review of four State assessment systems based on the Title I requirements for final assessments. These States volunteered to be part of this pilot peer review to get feedback on the degree to which their systems meet the Title I requirements and to help us fine tune the peer review process. We agreed to keep the States' identity confidential, and the States agreed to our sharing what we learned to improve our process as well as future submissions.
The review process itself was quite straightforward. It included a pre-screening by Department staff to make sure that each submission contained the relevant documentation. A team of peer reviewers, composed of experts in state and local assessments, then examined each assessment system based on the Peer Review Guidance for Evaluating Evidence of Final Assessments under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1999) (in MS Word [386K] or PDF [316K]). At the conclusion of the review, the reviewers documented the specific issues for each assessment system. Those findings are being shared with the State.
While each State approached its assessment system from its own unique perspective, some common issues emerged that I would like to bring to your attention. Those issues are:
You might also be interested to know that the Department has received numerous inquiries regarding the Ed-Flex Partnership program from Governors' offices. As a reminder, States that wish to participate in the Ed-Flex Partnership program must meet the Title I assessment requirements - or demonstrate that they are making substantial progress toward meeting them by the 2000-2001 school year - to be eligible for Ed-Flex. States can apply for Ed-Flex at any time, and are encouraged to do so.
In closing, we encourage States to submit evidence of assessments aligned with State standards early. We are extending the deadline for the second quarter review to May 1 to enable States to use this letter and the accompanying materials in preparing their submissions. All States reviewed during the second quarter will receive notice of the results by June 30, 2000.
If you, or your staff, would like to discuss this further, please contact Maggie McNeely on my staff at 202-260-1335.
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This page last modified July 20, 2000 (edg)