July 7, 2006
The Honorable Keith Rheault
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Nevada Department of Education
700 East 5th Street
Carson City, Nevada 89701-5096
Dear Superintendent Rheault:
I am writing in response to Nevada'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). Following our discussions with your staff, the changes that are aligned with NCLB are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Nevada submitted to the Department on July 3, 2006. I am pleased to fully approve Nevada's plan, which will be posted 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 Nevada accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Please note that approval of Nevada's accountability plan does not constitute approval of the State's standards and assessment system. Nevada must continue to provide information to the Department for peer review as it continues to develop its standards and assessments.
Please also be aware that approval of Nevada'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.
NCLB has provided a vehicle for States to raise the achievement of all students and to close the achievement gap. We are seeing the results of our combined endeavor; achievement is rising throughout the nation. I appreciate Nevada's efforts to raise the achievement of all students and hold all schools accountable. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessments, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) or Sue Rigney (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Kenny Guinn
Paul La Marca
Kathy St. Claire
Amendments to the Nevada accountability plan
The following is a summary of the State's approved amendments. Please refer to the Department's website (refer to: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete Nevada accountability plan.
Timely determinations of adequate yearly progress (AYP) (Element 3.2c)
Revision: Due to the implementation of new assessments in grades 4, 6, and 7, the subsequent standard setting that will occur in August 2006, and the requirement by Nevada State law that preliminary AYP determinations be made by June 15, Nevada will use the preliminary cut scores for these assessments in making determinations following the 2005-06 school year. Following formal adoption of cut scores by the State Board of Education, Nevada may adjust the annual measurable objectives (AMOs), including the 2005-06 AMOs. This may result in the need to re-analyze the 2005-06 assessment results and re-issue AYP determinations. Please note that Nevada must submit the revised AMOs and intermediate goals, as well as the plan and timeline for re-issuing AYP determinations and re-classifying schools and districts, to the Department for approval and subsequent addition to the State accountability plan before re-analyzing the data.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Element 5.3)
Revision: Nevada will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005) to take advantage of the Secretary's flexibility regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup (refer to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/secletter/051214a.html). Nevada 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, Nevada will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine if the school or district made AYP for the 2005-06 school year.