July 30, 2001
Honorable Wayne Sanstead
State Department of Public Instruction
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismark, North Dakota 58505-0440
Dear Superintendent Sanstead:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to North Dakota's proposed plan and extended timeline for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I as described in your March 13 letter to the Department. Very briefly, in order for North Dakota to receive a timeline waiver, the State must have funding and authorization to administer a statewide, standards-based assessment in reading and mathematics that meets Title I requirements. Your June 4 letter confirmed the authorization and funding of $1,217,928 to develop and administer student test aligned with State content standards.
I am pleased to grant a two-year waiver of the timeline for completion of North Dakota's final assessment system. Full approval of your system will be extended upon completion of the actions noted below. This additional time will allow North Dakota to develop an assessment system to meet the Title I requirements of performance standards aligned with content standards, revise policies for students with disabilities and limited English proficient (LEP) students, provide participation data for students with disabilities and LEP students, provide technical quality information on all components of your system, provide school, local educational agency (LEA), and State reports by performance standards levels using disaggregated data by all required categories, and provide information on how these new standards-based assessments will be used to determine LEA and school progress.
Failure of the State to complete activities as scheduled may make it necessary for this office to consider the other courses of action available to the Department. Potential actions include requiring North Dakota to enter into a compliance agreement in order to remain eligible to receive Title I funds or initiating proceedings to withhold Title I funds from the State.
I ask that North Dakota provide quarterly updates of progress in completing the Title I assessment requirements. When all of the action steps for the final assessment system have been completed, please provide evidence to the Department's Title I office on or before August 2003.
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.
Susan B. Neuman