October 17, 2000
Honorable Kent King
Commissioner of Education
Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Post Office Box 480
205 Jefferson Street
Jefferson City, Missouri 65102
Dear Commissioner King:
I want to follow up our conversation regarding the review of Missouri's 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 commend Missouri on its progress in the development of challenging standards and aligned assessments.
As we discussed, the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff found that, except for the feature described below, Missouri's assessment system meets the requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of Title I.
To receive full approval as a final Title I assessment system, Missouri must include results for students who participate in the alternate assessment, as well as the number of students exempted from testing, if any, in State, district, and school performance reports. To the extent statistically feasible, these results and exemptions must be dissaggregated by the categories required by Title I. In addition, the State's system for measuring Title I school progress must include all students who have attended schools in an LEA for a full academic year.
Please send your plan for making these changes to Mary Jean LeTendre, Director of Title I, within 30 days of receipt of this letter. If the plan indicates that these changes can be made for the 2000-2001 test administration, Missouri will be granted full approval of its final assessment system. If any of these changes cannot be met by the next administration of your State assessment, you may request a waiver of this timeline to stay in compliance with Title I. We will work with you and your staff to support and monitor the implementation of your plan. When the required changes have been completed, the assessment system will be fully approved.
During our conversation, we also discussed that Missouri must develop a means of reporting results for students with disabilities compared to non-disabled students, and the results for economically disadvantaged students compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged. We are in receipt of the revised disaggregated report for the Spring 1999 Missouri Assessment Program data that includes all the areas required for Title I. Missouri has met that requirement.
If, over time, changes are made to the Missouri assessment system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
Please note that the approval of Missouri’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.
Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated the Missouri assessment documents. We hope this information provides useful feedback that will support your State’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.