September 13, 2001
Honorable Dr. Douglas Christensen
Commissioner of Education
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall, South, 6th Floor
Lincoln, Nebraska 68509-4987
Dear Commissioner Christensen:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to Nebraska's plan and timeline for meeting the final assessment requirements of Title I as described in your August 8, 2001 letter to the Department. Nebraska 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 reports and guidelines that were not available when Nebraska initially submitted final assessment system evidence. The Department of Education (ED) will include the additional evidence along with additional information provided by Nebraska in upcoming peer review activities. We will provide Nebraska with a response and comment regarding the additional information.
We understand that it will take about two years for Nebraska to provide ED with the Buros summary report on the quality of the mathematics assessments implemented by districts receiving Title I funds and about a year for the Buros report on reading. It will take about a year to complete the alignment analyses and technical quality reports for districts receiving Title I funds. Completion of guidance on local assessment reporting requirements and the development of a State plan for providing technical assistance to districts will also take about one year to complete. Because these actions and plans will take additional time, I agree to grant a two-year waiver of the timeline for completion of Nebraska's final assessment system. After completion of the above actions and a successful peer review, the Nebraska assessment system can be approved.
I ask that Nebraska provide quarterly updates regarding your progress in completing the remaining requirements. The actions included in Nebraska'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 ED's 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 Nebraska 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.