About ED OVERVIEW
Georgia Assessment Letter

June 29, 2007

The Honorable Kathy Cox
State Superintendent of Schools
Georgia Department of Education
2062 Twin Towers East
Atlanta, Georgia 30334

Dear Superintendent Cox:

Thank you for submitting Georgia's assessment materials for peer review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the latest peer review that occurred in March 2007.

External peer reviewers and Department staff evaluated Georgia's submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it does not yet meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Georgia must provide in order to have a fully compliant system. Specifically, we did not find sufficient evidence to address the alignment and technical quality for Georgia's alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, we also need the 2006-07 technical manual and any updated alignment plans for the Georgia High School Graduation Test (GHSGT) and measurement error documentation for the new assessments aligned to Georgia's Performance Standards (GPS) administered in 2006-07. The complete list of evidence needed to address these concerns is on the last page of this letter.

We know that Georgia will be able to address many of these concerns within the next few months. Therefore, we are not assigning an approval status to Georgia's system at this time. Because that system is not fully approved, however, we will place a condition on Georgia's fiscal year 2007 Title I, Part A grant award.

To ensure that all remaining work occurs in a timely manner, I request that, within two weeks of the date of this letter, you provide my staff with a detailed timeline for how and when Georgia will satisfy the remaining requirements. As part of that timeline, please indicate when you will submit evidence as it becomes available. We will review that evidence and schedule an additional peer review, if necessary.

If Georgia is unable to resolve the remaining issues with its assessment system by the agreed upon timeline, we will take appropriate enforcement actions as outlined in the Department's May 10, 2007 fact sheet, including the possibility of continuing Mandatory Oversight pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §80.12. For your convenience, I am enclosing a copy of that fact sheet, which is also available on the Department's website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/statesystems.html).

Also enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Georgia's assessment materials. I hope you will find the reviewers' comments and suggestions helpful.

We look forward to working with Georgia to support a high-quality standards and assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call Zollie Stevenson (202-260-1824) or Martha Snyder (202-260-0941) of my staff.

Sincerely,

Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.

Enclosures

cc: Governor Sonny Perdue

Jeff Gagne
Melissa Fincher


Summary of Additional Evidence that Georgia Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Georgia Assessment System

4.0 - TECHNICAL QUALITY

  1. The final technical manual for the Georgia Alternate Assessment.
  2. Technical documentation for the 2006-07 operational English Language Arts high school assessments.
  3. Standard error of measurement (SEM) evidence for the 2006-07 GPS test administrations.

5.0 - ALIGNMENT

  1. An updated plan and timeline for addressing the recommendations from Georgia's external alignment study to improve range and depth of knowledge as they relate to alignment of the GHSGT.
  2. Evidence from the redesigned Georgia Alternate Assessment that demonstrates alignment to the academic content standards.

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Last Modified: 06/29/2007