May 7, 2001
Honorable Sandy Garrett
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Hodge Education Building
2500 North Lincoln Boulevard
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4599
Dear Superintendent Garrett:
It was a pleasure speaking with you about the outcome of the Department's review of Oklahoma's final assessment system under the requirements of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). We appreciate the effort Oklahoma has made to prepare for the final review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.
As we discussed, the evaluation conducted by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff found that, except for the features noted below, Oklahoma's assessment system meets the requirements of sections 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.
To receive final approval for your system, Oklahoma must:
- Submit to our Department complete and direct evidence that your assessment and accountability system adequately includes measures of higher-order thinking and understanding.
- Submit technical information, including information on alignment with State content and performance standards, for assessments in development or revision, particularly the Algebra I and English II End of Instruction Tests.
- Provide assessment participation rate data. These data should include-for each grade assessed, for each subject (reading and math), and for disabled and limited English proficient populations-the total student enrollment, number assessed, and number exempted. The number assessed should also be reported by the type of assessment (regular, accommodations, and alternate).
- Submit information on how the State intends to address the identified gaps in alignment between the multiple-choice items and the Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS), particularly regarding the range of cognitive complexity in these standards.
- Submit a sample report that shows how results from students with disabilities are compared with non-disabled students and economically disadvantaged with non-disadvantaged students.
In order to meet these requirements, you may request a waiver of the statutory timeline to stay in compliance with Title I. In your request, please provide a detailed timeline and the steps Oklahoma will take to complete the above requirements. When the required items have been submitted, we will consider the assessment system for final approval.
Please submit your request for a waiver of timeline, with a plan for completing these items, within 45 days of receipt of this letter. We will work with you and your staff to support and monitor the implementation of your plan.
If, over time, additional changes are made to Oklahoma's assessment system, you must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I. For example, if new assessment components are added to the system, then the related test design, performance standards, documentation of technical quality, and report formats must be submitted for review and approval as part of the final assessment system.
Please note that the approval of Oklahoma's assessment system for Title I will not mean 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 Oklahoma's assessment documents. We hope this information will be useful to the Oklahoma State Department of Education in its efforts to implement a high-quality assessment system.
Thomas M. Corwin
Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary