August 11, 2005
Dr. Joseph B. Morton
State Superintendent of Education
Alabama Department of Education
Gordon Persons Building
P.O. Box 302101
Montgomery, AL 36230
Dear Superintendent Morton:
I am pleased to approve Alabama's assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA). I appreciate your cooperation in making the changes in your assessment system to meet fully the IASA assessment requirements.
On March 27, 2002, former Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Susan B. Newman signed a compliance agreement with the Alabama Department of Education (ADE). Specifically, the compliance agreement required Alabama to: (1) develop content standards and performance standards in at least reading/language arts and mathematics; (2) provide evidence of the alignment and technical quality of the state assessments; (3) develop inclusion policies for students with disabilities and limited English proficient students that allow them to be included in the accountability system; (4) provide complete participation data for students with disabilities and LEP students; and (5) develop assessment reports of student achievement relative to state performance standards and provide school, district, and state level reports using disaggregated data by all the required categories.
Peer reviewers external to the Department and Department staff have reviewed evidence of compliance submitted by Alabama. We have concluded that this evidence satisfies the IASA assessment requirements for Title I.
Please note that compliance with the IASA assessment requirements does not mean that Alabama has fully met the assessment requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Although many requirements under IASA and NCLB are the same, there are some new requirements in NCLB that are not covered by this IASA approval and thus compliance under IASA will not suffice for meeting NCLB requirements.
Please be aware that approval of Alabama's assessment system for Title I is not a determination that the system complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Eduction Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Eduction Act. Finally, please remember that if Alabama makes significant changes to its assessment system, the State must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval.
We have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Congratulations on a fully approved assessment system under IASA. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in Alabama.
Henry L. Johnson