November 6, 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:
The purpose of this letter is to respond to Oklahoma's plan and timeline for meeting the final assessment requirements of ESEA Title I as described in your letter of September 27, 2001 and Working Plan document sent to the Department on October 12, 2001. Oklahoma has requested that a two-year timeline waiver be granted to enable your State to complete its final assessment system.
We understand that it will take about two years for Oklahoma to
- Implement and document assessments currently in development or revision, particularly the Algebra I and English II End-of-Instruction Tests,
- Address gaps in the alignment of multiple choice items and Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS),
- Provide evidence that the Oklahoma assessment and accountability system adequately includes measures of higher-order thinking and understanding,
- Provide full assessment participation data, and
- Implement the disaggregated reporting required by Title I.
Because these plans will take additional time, I agree to grant a two-year waiver for completion of Oklahoma’s final assessment system. Oklahoma's working plan shows that all of these will be complete by Summer 2003. After completion of the above actions and successful peer review, the Oklahoma assessment system can be approved.
Failure of the State to complete the 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 Oklahoma 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. However, with Oklahoma's proved track record, I am confident none of those steps will be necessary.
I ask that Oklahoma provide quarterly updates regarding your progress in completing the remaining requirements. The actions included in Oklahoma's plan must be completed no later than September 21, 2003. When all the action steps have been completed, please provide evidence of the completion to our Title I office. The evidence should include such items as policy guidance to local districts, technical reports, sample reports, or other documents that demonstrate the changes that have been made.
I am confident that Oklahoma will continue to advance State and local educational improvement efforts, improve student achievement, and 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.