July 3, 2006
The Honorable Judy Jeffrey
Director of Education
Iowa Department of Education
Grimes State Office Building
East 14th & Grand Streets
Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0146
Dear Director Jeffrey:
I am writing in response to Iowa's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The revisions you requested that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Iowa submitted to the Department on July 19, 2006. The changes are listed in an attachment to this letter. We will post Iowa's amended plan on the Department's website.
If, over time, Iowa makes additional changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Iowa must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Iowa's accountability plan is not also an approval of Iowa's standards and assessment system.
Please also be aware that approval of Iowa's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved above, does not indicate that the plan 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.
I am confident that Iowa will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Zollie Stevenson (email@example.com) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Tom Vilsack
Amendments to the Iowa Accountability Plan
This attachment is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Iowa accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
School and District AYP Determination (Element 3.2)
Revision: Iowa will calculate adequate yearly progress (AYP) based data from the current school year and compare this to a two-year average. Iowa use all assessments administered in grades 3-8 in reading and mathematics to calculate AYP based on only the 2005-06 results. With 3-8 assessments in place, Iowa will make school-wide AYP determinations based on all assessments administered in the 2005-06 school year by calculating a weighted average of the proportion of students below or above the AMO to determine if the school has met AYP. Iowa will compare this to an average of assessment data from the current school year and the immediately preceding school year using only the results from the grade span assessments administered in both 2004-05 and 2005-06 until Iowa has administered assessments in grades 3-8 for the two years needed to average data. Iowa will report data resulting from all grades 3-8 assessments on the State, district, and school report cards.
LEA Identification for Improvement (Element 3.1)
Revision: Iowa will identify districts for improvement that miss AYP across all grade spans in the same subject or other academic indicator for two consecutive years. In implementing this provision, Iowa should 1) monitor districts that have not made AYP in one grade span but have not been identified for improvement to ensure they are making the necessary curricular and instructional changes to improve achievement, and 2) take steps to ensure that supplemental services are available to eligible students from a variety of providers throughout the State (including in local educational agencies (LEAs) that have not been identified for improvement but that have schools that have been in improvement for more than one year).
Inclusion of Students with Disabilities (Element 5.3)
Revision: Iowa proposes to revise its policy to count students taking an out-of-level assessment as participating, but non-proficient for purposes of calculating AYP. Starting with the 2006-07 school year, Iowa will count all students talking an out-of-level assessment as non-participants for purposes of determining AYP.
Alternative schools (Element 5.5)
Revision: When alternative high schools serving students from neighboring districts have fewer than 30 (the State's minimum-n size) resident students, after non-resident students' scores are returned to their home districts, the scores of the resident students will be rolled up to and included at the district level. This does not relieve the building of responsibility for student results; the district AYP decision will be attributed to the alternative school.