August 21, 2000
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Oregon Department of Education
255 Capitol Street, N.E.
Salem, Oregon 97310
Dear Superintendent Bunn:
It was a pleasure speaking with you about the outcome of the review of Oregon's final assessment system under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). I very much appreciate the efforts required to prepare for this review and I congratulate you on Oregon's impressive assessment system.
As we discussed, I am providing conditional approval for Oregon's final assessment system. This decision is based on the evaluation of Oregon's system by external peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff in light of the requirements of Title I. The review found that, except for the features noted below, Oregon's assessment system meets the requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) and 1116(a) of Title I.
To receive full approval as a final Title I assessment system, the following changes in Oregon's assessment policy or procedures must be made prior to the 2000-2001 administration of your State assessment:
- Oregon already disaggregates and reports most performance subgroups required under Section 1111(b)(3)(I) of the ESEA, including: gender, each major racial and ethnic group, English proficiency status, and migrant status. However, Oregon must also develop a means of reporting results for students with disabilities compared to non-disabled students, and the results for economically disadvantaged students compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged.
- Oregon's State, district, and school performance reports include information on the number of students exempted from testing, results for all students who participate in the regular state assessment, and results for students assessed with accommodations. Furthermore, Oregon incorporates all of this information into its system for measuring school progress. To meet Title I requirements, however, Oregon must also report results for students who take the State assessment with modifications and the results from these assessments must be incorporated into the State's system for measuring school progress under Title I.
We understand from our discussions with your staff that Oregon has plans to address this issue and that students tested with modifications will be included in State reporting and accountability in two ways in the future. First, an alternate assessment will be available for students with severe disabilities. Performance results for students who take the alternate assessment will be reported on school profiles and will be included in the State's measures of school progress. Second, a panel of experts will evaluate the use of modifications for individual students to help validate the results so that they can be reported and used for accountability purposes.
Please send documentation on Oregon's plan for meeting these conditions and making needed changes to Mary Jean LeTendre, Director of Title I, within 30 days of receipt of this letter. We will work with you and your staff to support and monitor the implementation of your plan. When the required changes have been completed, the assessment system will be fully approved.
As Oregon indicated in its submission of evidence, the State intends to include additional subjects-science and social studies-in the State assessment and accountability system. As such changes are made to Oregon's assessment system, the State must submit information about those changes to the Department as required by section 1111(e)(2) of Title I.
In addition, you should be aware that the approval of Oregon's assessment system for Title I will not necessarily 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.
Again, thank you for submitting materials for peer review. I have included a copy of the peer review assessment of the Oregon system for your review. I hope you will find the reviewers comments and suggestions helpful. We look forward to working with Oregon to help all students meet challenging standards.