August 3, 2001
Honorable Charlie Crist
Commissioner of Education
Florida Department of Education
Plaza Level -08
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0400
Dear Commissioner Crist:
Thank you for submitting your assessment materials for review under the requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We appreciate Florida's effort to prepare for the review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.
I know that you discussed the outcome of our review with Thomas Corwin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary, in May and that our respective staffs have discussed Florida's status several times over the past months. As you know, the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff found that Florida's current assessment program substantially meets the requirements of Title I, but that three areas must still be addressed. To fully meet the requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of the Act, Florida must address the following tasks.
- Include the results of all students who take the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), including limited English proficient (LEP) and Exceptional Student Education (ESE) students, in measures of school progress used for Title I purposes. More specifically for Title I purposes, the results for assessed LEP students may not be withheld from measures of school progress for two years, nor may the results for categories of ESE students.
- Secure State Board approval and implement the draft administrative rule for the factors local LEP committees use to determine student participation in the FCAT.
- Include results from the Alternate Assessment in school, district, and State reports and include the results as a measure of school progress for Title I purposes.
When we receive your request and complete plan, we will be pleased to approve a waiver of timeline to stay in compliance with Title I. When the required changes are completed, we will consider the assessment system for approval.
Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Florida's assessment documents. We hope this information will be useful to the Florida Department of Education in its efforts to implement a high-quality assessment system.
I am confident that Florida will continue to advance State and local education improvement efforts, to improve student achievement, and to maintain strong accountability for results.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D.