Decision Letter on Request to Amend New Hampshire Accountability Plan

May 23, 2007

Dr. Lyonel Tracy
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301

Dear Commissioner Tracy:

I am writing in response to New Hampshire's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that New Hampshire submitted to the Department on May 11, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve New Hampshire's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the New Hampshire accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I.

Please also be aware that approval of New Hampshire'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 New Hampshire will continue to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If you need any additional assistance in implementing the standards, assessment and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Abigail Potts (abigail.potts@ed.gov) or Valeria Ford (valeria.ford@ed.gov).


Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary

cc: Governor John Lynch
Deb Wiswell
Tim Kurtz

Amendments to the New Hampshire Accountability Plan

The following is a summary of the State's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete New Hampshire accountability plan.

Index system (Element 3.2)

Revision: New Hampshire will use the index system approved in 2005-06 for adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations in the 2006-07 school year. New Hampshire will allocate 100 index points for performance at the Proficient with Distinction and Proficient level, 80 points for the upper portion of Partially Proficient, 60 points for the lower portion of Partially Proficient, 40 points for the upper portion of Substantially Below Proficient, 20 points for the lower portion of Substantially Below Proficient and 0 points for No Score.

Please note that New Hampshire may only use the index for the AYP determinations based on assessments administered in the 2006-07 school year. New Hampshire must submit a new index, based upon additional guidance from the Department to be released in summer 2007, for approval by the Department before making AYP determinations for assessments administered in the 2007-08 school year.

Safe Harbor (Element 3.2)

Revision: New Hampshire will use its index system for Safe Harbor determinations. In order to make Safe Harbor, schools and districts must reduce the percentage of index points "not earned" (i.e., 100 minus the school or district index average) by 10 percent. In addition, the percentage of students scoring proficient or above must increase in order for the school or subgroup to meet the Safe Harbor provision.

Annual decisions about the achievement of schools and LEAs (Element 4.1)

Revision: For schools with fewer than the minimum number of students (11), New Hampshire will aggregate multiple years of assessment data to determine AYP.

Annual decisions about the achievement of schools and LEAs (Element 4.1)

Revision: AYP determinations for schools with a highest grade in the school of grade 2 will be based on the performance of 3rd-grade students who were 2nd-graders in the school the prior year. AYP determinations for schools with a highest grade in the school of grade 1 will be based on the AYP determination of the school receiving the 1st-grade students.

Including Students with Disabilities (Element 5.3)

Revision: New Hampshire will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the interim flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/070207.html). New Hampshire will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, New Hampshire will use this adjusted percentage proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2006-07 school year.

High School Assessments (Element 6.1)

Revision: New Hampshire will remove references to the New Hampshire Education Improvement Assessment program (NHEIAP) that is no longer administered. New Hampshire, along with Vermont and Rhode Island, will be implementing a new high school assessment in the fall of 2007. Due to the transition from spring to fall testing in high school, for the 2006-07 school year, New Hampshire will make AYP determinations solely on the basis of the graduation rate.

Decision Letters on State Accountability Plans

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Last Modified: 05/24/2007