June 20, 2003
Honorable Robert Schiller
Superintendent of Education
Illinois Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, Illinois 62777
Dear Superintendent Schiller:
I am writing with regard to Illinois' timeline waiver to complete its final assessment system required under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, as amended by the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA). On the basis of the evidence provided, I am pleased to approve Illinois' final assessment system under Title I of the IASA. Please note that this approval does not cover the new requirements under Title I as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
The evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers has found that the evidence Illinois submitted regarding the development of its high school assessments, the Prairie State Achievement Examination (PSAE) meets the assessment requirements of sections 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of IASA. For these assessments, Illinois submitted documentation of inclusion policies, participation rates, alignment of English language arts and math content and academic achievement standards with the PSAE, technical quality, reporting, and use of results in accountability as required by IASA. Illinois also addressed the following conditions identified in its timeline waiver granted by this Department:
- Development of a comprehensive policy on assessment guidelines and accommodations for limited English proficient (LEP) students. The State provides clear guidance to LEAs and schools related to the use of language proficiency tests and accommodations for assessments.
- For the 2001 ISAT, evidence of participation rates for each grade assessed, each subject (reading and math), and for students with disabilities (SWD) and LEP students, total enrollment, number assessed, and number exempted.
- The alternate assessment has been implemented and will be included in the accountability system.
- Information on how the State will hold K-2 schools accountable.
On the basis of the evidence provided, I am pleased to provide full approval of Illinois' final assessment system.
Approval of Illinois' 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 significant changes are made to Illinois assessment and/or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
You have my congratulations on a fully approved assessment system.
Eugene W. Hickok