April 5, 2002
Honorable Nicholas C. Donohue
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
State Office Park South
Concord, NH 03301
Dear Commissioner Donohue:
I am pleased to approve New Hampshire's final assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I appreciate your willingness to make the necessary changes in your assessment system to fully meet the 1994 Title I requirements.
The Department granted New Hampshire a waiver of timeline that expired on December 13, 2001. The timeline waiver was granted to allow time for New Hampshire to revise its policy to require that all students, including limited English proficient students, be assessed; to include the results from the alternate assessment for students with disabilities in the accountability system and in State, district, and school reports; and to complete related technical reports and alignment studies. New Hampshire was required to forward to the Department evidence of the revised policy and its implementation for the 2000-01 test administration, as well as copies of its revised State, district and school reports that demonstrated student participation in the alternate assessment, and how these results are included in measures of school progress. The deadline of the initial timeline waiver was extended to January 18, 2002 in order to allow New Hampshire additional time to complete the technical manual.
Department staff have reviewed evidence that New Hampshire now includes all students in its assessment. Evidence consisted of the Title I school reports for end-of-grade assessments in English/language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. These reports contain assessment results for all students, Title I students, students with disabilities, and limited English proficient students. The technical manual was peer-reviewed in its entirety with emphasis on alignment, reliability and validity. On the basis of the submission of this additional information, and the evaluation conducted by peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff, we grant approval of New Hampshire's assessment system.
Please be aware that approval of New Hampshire'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. Finally, please remember that if significant changes are made to New Hampshire's assessment and/or accountability system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
Staff in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education have enjoyed working with your staff in this endeavor. Please accept our congratulations on a fully approved assessment system.
Susan B. Neuman, Ed.D