March 26, 2001
Honorable Richard Thompson Superintendent of Education
State Department of Education
Central High School Building
P.O. Box 771
359 North West Street
Jackson, Mississippi 39205
Dear Superintendent Thompson
The purpose of this letter is to respond to Mississippi's plan for meeting the final assessment requirements under Title I as described in the January 16, 2001 letter to the Department.
In order to receive approval of its final assessment system under Title I, Mississippi needed to: submit performance standards, complete the alternate assessment and include the results from such assessment for students with disabilities in the accountability system; and provide the Department with technical reports and alignment studies.
In regard to the performance standards, Mississippi will send these to the Title I office in December 2001 for peer review. As indicated in your letter, the State will also forward copies of its revised State, district, and school reports following the 2001-2002 test administration showing the results of students taking the alternate assessment as well as how these results are included in measures of school progress. If Mississippi is unable to meet any of these dates, please notify us immediately.
Though Mississippi is on track to complete the technical manual and alignment study, it is unable to meet the Spring 2001 implementation deadline. Therefore, based on your January 16, 2001 letter, I am waiving the deadline and extending it until June 1, 2003. When the technical manual and alignment study have been completed, please forward them to the Director of Title I in the Department. The material will be peer reviewed. When all Title I requirements are met, Mississippi will be granted full approval of its 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.
Thomas M. Cowin
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary