ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION
Guidance on Standards, Assessments, and Accountability
Archived Information


Transitional Assessments



Introduction

Parts I and II of this guidance examine the Title I requirements for high standards and high-quality aligned assessments. Recognizing the technical complexity and practical challenges of developing these high-quality standards and assessments and recognizing that States are at different stages in this process, Title I provides for a transition period during which a State may use a transitional assessment system while it is developing standards and final assessments.

In order to provide States sufficient time to develop high-quality assessments and field test their use, the law permits transitional assessments to be used until school year 2000-01. In addition, States have maximum flexibility to determine the transitional assessments that they will use, as long as those assessments assess performance of complex skills and challenging matter. States should examine and reexamine methods of assessing their State standards in order to ultimately satisfy the final assessment requirements and provide information to LEAs and schools on their progress toward attaining the State's high content and performance standards.

The transition period gives States the opportunity to experiment with innovative methods of assessment and to phase in their use. It also allows time for parents, students, teachers, and administrators to understand these new assessments and how they may be used to improve instruction in schools.


Statute and Regulations (Section 1111(b)(7);200.3 8 and 200.4(e)(1))

If a State has not yet developed or adopted a final assessment system, the State may propose in its State plan to use a transitional set of yearly statewide assessments that meet the following requirements:

  • assess the performance of complex skills and challenging subject matter;
  • assess in at least mathematics and reading/language arts, which may be satisfied through assessments in academic subjects other than mathematics and reading/language arts if those assessments measure performance in mathematics and reading/language arts;
  • be administered at some time during:
    • grades 3 through 5;
    • grades 6 through 9; and
    • grades 10 through 12; and
    • include all children in the grades being assessed.

Transitional assessments do not need to meet the other assessment requirements of Title I that apply to final assessments.


Statute and Regulations (Sections 1111(b)(7)(B))

Accountability During Transitional Period

During the transition period, the State must have a procedure for identifying LEAs and schools for improvement. This procedure must rely on accurate information about the academic progress of each LEA or school. Although many States may still tie this procedure to a definition of adequate yearly progress, they do not have to. Since States may not have content or performance standards and aligned assessments, it may be necessary to use different types of procedures to judge whether LEAs or schools are in need of improvement.

During this developmental period and using broad-based consultation, States must set challenging goals for all students. In this changing environment, it is especially important that the criteria for identifying LEAs and schools for improvement are understood by school administrators, teachers, parents, and students in order to make the process useful in terms of improving teaching and learning in the districts and schools.


Questions and Answers

85. What is the procedure for identifying LEAs and schools in need of improvement during the transition period?

During the transition period, a State must have a procedure for identifying LEAs and schools in need of improvement. This procedure must rely on accurate information about the continuous and substantial yearly academic progress of each LEA and school. Although many States may still tie this procedure to a definition of adequate yearly progress, they are not required to do so. Since States may not have content or performance standards and aligned assessments, it may be necessary to use different types of procedures to judge whether LEAs and schools are in need of improvement.

During this developmental period, using broad-based consultation, States must set challenging goals for all students. In this changing environment, it is especially important that the criteria for identifying LEAs and schools for improvement are understood by school administrators, teachers, parents, and students to make the process useful in terms of improving teaching and learning in the districts and schools.

86. When must a State develop or adopt assessments in at least mathematics and reading/language arts that are no longer transitional assessments?

By the beginning of the 2000-01 school year, the State shall have developed and field tested for one year mathematics and reading/language arts assessments. If a State has not developed assessments in at least mathematics and reading/language arts by the beginning of the 2000-01school year and is denied a one-year extension from the Secretary, the State shall adopt a set of assessments in those subjects, such as assessments contained in other State plans the Secretary has approved. The assessment of mathematics and reading/language arts may be satisfied through assessments in academic subjects other than mathematics and reading/language arts if those assessments measure performance in mathematics and reading/language arts.

87. During the transitional period, may children in Title I be assessed with different measures than those used by the State to assess all other children?

Title I students must be included in any assessments given to all students in the State.

88. May norm-referenced tests be used during the transitional period?

A transitional assessment must include assessment of complex skills and challenging subject matter in selected grades. Norm-referenced tests (NRTs) that measure reading comprehension and problem-solving skills may meet these requirements. However, during this transitional period, each State should examine its assessment process and work toward a system of multiple measures that is aligned with the State's challenging content and performance standards.

89. If a school is providing Title I services only in reading/language arts or math, may the children be assessed in only the subject matter in which they receive instruction?

No. A State must use a transitional set of yearly statewide assessments that assesses the performance of complex skills and challenging subject matter in at least mathematics and reading/language arts.

90. Must a State use only specific mathematics and reading/language arts assessments to satisfy the minimum requirement of Title I?

No. A State may assess students in academic subjects other than mathematics and reading/language arts if those assessments measure performance in mathematics and reading/language arts.

91. When a State is using transitional assessments, must the data obtained from these assessments be disaggregated?

The requirement for disaggregation applies only to the final assessment. However, States, LEAs, and schools may wish to use this information, as available, in planning programs and to assist schools or LEAs that are in need of improvement. This may be particularly relevant for targeted assistance schools when data for all students are used to measure the progress of the school. This information can also be used to inform final assessment development.

92. During a transitional period, must a State annually review the progress of each LEA and must an LEA annually review the progress of each school receiving funds under this part?

Yes. Using transitional assessments, each State must annually review the progress of each LEA and each LEA must annually review the progress of each school receiving Title I funds. LEAs and schools must be identified as needing improvement based on the procedures described in the State plans.

93. If a State has no uniform statewide assessments during the transition period, what are its responsibilities for fulfilling its role in meeting the requirements for assessments and measuring the academic progress of each LEA and school in the State receiving Title I funds?

The statewide assessment during the transitional period may be a description of the criteria or model assessments the State will use to approve the LEA's assessment process. This description must explicitly include the procedure used by the LEA to identify schools for improvement and the procedure used by the State to identify LEAs for improvement.

94. Since Section 1111(b)(7)(B) of Title I requires that the procedure for identifying LEAs and schools rely on accurate information about academic progress, how may such information be judged as accurate?

Because of the wide variety of measures being used across States, it is difficult to give a specific definition of accurate information. Information about academic progress should be carefully evaluated so that the whole system has credibility to LEAs, schools, parents, and students and is perceived as useful and fair in raising standards for every child.

95. During the transitional assessment period, may a State and/or LEA include other measures with their assessments to establish criteria for identifying LEAs and schools in need of improvement?

Yes. An LEA may use the State assessments and any additional measures or indicators, such as dropout, retention, and attendance rates, described in the LEA's plan to establish the progress of a school or the LEA toward enabling its students to meet the State's student performance standards.

96. Are States required to define adequate yearly progress during the transitional period?

No. During the transitional period States are required to devise a procedure for identifying schools and LEAs for improvement using accurate information about the continuous and substantial yearly academic progress of each LEA and school. States are expected to use this transitional period for development and field testing of their final assessment systems. They may also want to try out a variety of different procedures for determining adequate yearly progress during this period.


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Last Modified: 04/02/2009