December 26, 2001
Honorable Jaime Molera
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Arizona Department of Education
1535 West Jefferson Street, Bin 2
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Dear Superintendent Molera:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to Arizona's plan and timeline for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as described in your letter of October 23, 2001, and Working Plan document sent to the Department on December 17, 2001.
We understand that your agency will:
- Provide documentation showing how Arizona uses two tests (the Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Ed. (SAT-9) and the Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards (AIMS)) together as its Title I Final Assessment System.
- Complete your Title I accountability system, and provide documentation describing it, also showing that the assessment system is the primary basis for determining LEA and school progress.
- Provide documentation showing that Arizona meets Title I requirements for performance standards.
- Provide evidence that Arizona's Final Assessment is aligned with your State's content and performance standards, and that the aligned assessments are rigorous and challenging.
- Complete and submit technical reports for the AIMS.
- Implement the disaggregated reporting required by Title I.
- Provide evidence that all students, and in particular LEP students and students with disabilities, are included in your assessment and accountability systems.
Because completing this work will take additional time, I agree to grant a timeline waiver through August 31, 2003, for completion of Arizona's final assessment system. Your work plan shows that all of these tasks will be complete by that date. After completion of the above actions and successful peer review, the Arizona assessment system can be approved.
Our Title I office will monitor progress against the timeline you provided. Failure of Arizona to complete activities or products as scheduled will make it necessary for this office to consider the other courses of action available to the Department. These actions may include initiating proceedings to withhold Title I funds from Arizona. However, with Arizona's proven track record, I am confident none of these steps will be necessary.
I ask that Arizona provide quarterly updates regarding your progress in completing the remaining requirements. The actions included in Arizona's plan must be completed and the documentation submitted no later that August 31, 2003. Please provide evidence of the completion to our Title I office. The evidence should include such items as policy guidance to local districts, technical reports, sample reports, or other documents that demonstrate the work that has been completed.
I am confident that Arizona will continue to advance State and local educational improvement efforts, improve student achievement, and maintain strong accountability for results. We wish you well in your efforts to improve school and student performance in your State.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D.