January 19, 2001
Honorable Linda Schrenko
State Superintendent of Schools
Georgia Department of Education
Twin Towers East
205 Bulter Street
Atlanta, Georgia 30334-5001
Dear Superintendent Schrenko:
It was a pleasure speaking with you about the outcome of the review of Georgia' final assessment system under the Title I requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the final review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.
As we discussed, Georgia has made excellent progress in completing its final assessment system in grades 4, 6, and 8. These assessments must be the primary measures used to determine adequate yearly progress in your accountability system. The review, however, found that ther were several items that need to be completed prior to your state receiving full approval of its final assessment system. Most significantly, Georgia must develop its new end-of-course tests and performance standards in grades 10-12 in math and reading/language arts that are due to be completed by 2003. These new assessments must meet all the requirements of Title I.
In addition, Georgia must provide the following evidence other aspects of its final assessment system:
- Provide documentation for a third performance level for the Georgia High School Writing assessment, if it is remain a part of the statewide accountability system.
- Provide updated alignment information after the inclusions of the constructed response items that will be included in the spring 2001 administration of the assessment.
- Provide the proposed statewide system for measuring the progress of students in all schools and districts including Title I schools showing that the statewide assessment system is the primary element in the state's definition of AYP.
- Provide the documentation that the proposed guidance for LEP students has been approved and been disseminated.
- Provide updated participation rates for LEP students when the new policies have been implemented and also updated participation rates for those taking the Georgia Alternate Assessment
- Provide the school, district, and state profiles after the 2001 administration of the assessment showing data disaggregrated by disabled vs. non-disabled, and economically disadvantaged vs. non-economically disadvantaged.
Since your new end-of-course high school assessment will not be completed until 2003, you may request a waiver of timeline to stay in compliance with the Title I requirement that you complete your final assessment system by the spring of 2000-2001. In such a waiver request, please provide a detailed timeline addressing each of the items identified for completion to the Director of Title I, within 45 days of receipt of this letter.
Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Georgia's assessment documents. We hope this information will be useful to the Georgia Department of Education in its efforts to implement a high quality assessment system. We will work with you and your staff to support and monitor the implementation of your timeline waiver. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact me.