September 30, 2004
Honorable Wanda Barrs
Georgia State Board of Education
2035 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Honorable Kathy Cox
State Superintendent of Schools
Georgia Department of Education
2062 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334
Dear Ms. Barrs and Ms. Cox:
I am pleased to approve Georgia'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.
To meet the requirements of its timeline waiver and the requirements for standards and assessments under IASA, Georgia was to provide the Department documentation of (1) a State assessment system that provides for the disaggregation of assessment data for all required subgroups and provides school, district, and state profiles that include assessment data for all required subgroups; (2) a State assessment system that includes high school assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics that meet all Title I requirements related to alignment, technical quality, and reporting; and (3) a State accountability system that is based primarily on results from Georgia's standards-based assessments. Peer reviewers external to the Department and Department staff have reviewed evidence of compliance submitted by Georgia. We have concluded that this evidence satisfies IASA assessment requirements for Title I.
We look forward to working with you as Georgia expands and improves its assessment system, including issues related to alignment and technical quality, to meet the new Title I requirements for standards and assessments under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). As Georgia prepares for the peer review of its standards and assessments under NCLB, I encourage you to review carefully the "Standards and Assessments Peer Review Guidance: Information and Examples for Meeting Requirements of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001." The purpose of this document is twofold: (1) to inform States about what would be useful evidence to demonstrate that they have met NCLB standards and assessments requirements; and (2) to guide teams of peer reviewers who will examine the evidence submitted by States and advise the Department as to whether a State has met the requirements. I have enclosed a copy of this document with this letter.
Please be aware that approval of Georgia'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 Education 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 Education Act. Finally, please remember that if Georgia 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 Georgia.