July 30, 2001
Honorable Thomas D. Watkins, Jr.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Michigan Department of Education
P.O. Box 30008
Lansing, MI 48909
Dear Superintendent Watkins:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to Michigan's plan and timeline for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I as described in your June 4, 2001 letter to the Department. Michigan has requested that a two-year timeline waiver be granted to enable your State to complete its final assessment system.
Accompanying your letter were copies of technical reports for the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) which were not included in Michigan's initial submission of evidence. We will conduct a peer review of the MEAP technical reports to determine if they meet Title I requirements.
Title I requires that State assessments be used for purposes for which such assessments are valid and reliable, and be consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical standards. We will provide Michigan a response and comment regarding the technical reports on the MEAP.
We understand that it will take about two years for Michigan to add an advanced level of performance to the MEAP for grades four and seven and to align the MEAP with Michigan standards. It will take about a year to complete implementation of new inclusion polices and practices, and to generate disaggregated reports that reflect all of the Title I requirements. Because these plans will take additional time, I agree to grant a two-year waiver of the timeline for completion of Michigan’s final assessment system. After completion of the above actions and a successful peer review, the Michigan assessment system can be approved.
I ask that Michigan provide quarterly updates regarding your progress in completing the remaining requirements. The actions included in Michigan’s plan must be completed no later than February 28, 2003. When all of the action steps for the final assessment system have been completed, please provide evidence of completion to our Title I office. The evidence should include such items as policy guidance to local districts, sample reports, or other documents that demonstrate the changes that have been made.
I am confident that Michigan will continue to advance State and local education improvement efforts, to improve student achievement, and to 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.