About ED OVERVIEW
Louisiana Assessment Letter

April 19, 2007

The Honorable Paul G. Pastorek
Superintendent of Education
Louisiana Department of Education
PO Box 94064
1201 North 3rd Street, 5th Floor
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9064

Dear Superintendent Pastorek:

Thank you for submitting Louisiana's assessment materials for an additional 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).

In the Department's letter on June 29, 2006, Louisiana's standards and assessment system was designated Approval Expected based on the results of Louisiana's first peer review. That status indicated that, based on the evidence available at that time, Louisiana administered a compliant assessment system in 2005-06; however, certain elements of the system could not be completed by July 1, 2006, such as technical manuals for the Integrated Louisiana Educational Assessment Program (iLEAP) and the Louisiana Alternate Assessment, Level 1 (LAA1), due to the nature of assessment development and the fact that these assessments were being administered for the first time.

In January 2007, the peer reviewers and Department staff evaluated the additional evidence that Louisiana submitted. Unfortunately, that evidence, as well as the additional evidence submitted in early March 2007, indicates that the LAA1 administered by Louisiana in 2005-06 does not meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. Specifically, the peer review raised concerns regarding the LAA1, including alignment to the State's academic content standards, the academic achievement standards, and the technical quality.

Because Louisiana's evidence did not confirm that the Louisiana standards and assessment system, particularly the LAA1, that was administered in 2005-06 met the NCLB requirements, the status of Louisiana's standards and assessment system is now Approval Pending. We share your concern, as expressed in your letter on April 16, that Louisiana's assessment system is Approval Pending. As you know, the Department's review and approval is evidence-based. In May 2006, we thought the original Approval Expected status was warranted based on the evidence submitted - in essence, this designation indicated that the Department believed the assessment system met all the requirements, but additional evidence was forthcoming to document all requirements had been met. Unfortunately, upon receiving that additional evidence, it became apparent that the 2005-06 alternate assessment did not meet the requirements. For the Department to approve the assessment system, including the LAA1, changes must be made. I understand that your team has been working diligently to work on this assessment and others; the change in status does not take away from that effort. I hope to be a position soon to fully approve the Louisiana system. The enclosure provides a detailed list of the evidence Louisiana must submit to meet the requirements for an approved standards and assessment system. I encourage you to submit all available evidence for review by the peers at the earliest possible convenience. Please note that Louisiana must address all outstanding issues in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under the ESEA by the end of the 2006-07 school year or risk subsequent consequences. The condition on Louisiana's Title I, Part A grant award will continue until Louisiana submits the required evidence, as listed in the enclosure to this letter, and receives full approval of its standards and assessment system.

I appreciate the steps Louisiana has taken toward meeting the requirements of the ESEA, and I know you are anxious to receive full approval of your standards and assessment system. We are committed to helping you get there and remain available to provide technical assistance regarding issues that you identify. We will schedule an additional peer review when you have evidence available to further evaluate your system. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to contact Grace Ross (Grace.Ross@ed.gov) or Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) of my staff.

Sincerely,

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

Enclosure

cc: Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco
Scott Norton


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

2.0 - ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS

  1. Documentation indicating the date at which the new Louisiana Alternate Assessment, Level I (LAA1) alternate achievement standards have been approved and will become operational.
  2. Documentation that the alternate student academic achievement descriptors and cut scores for English language arts, mathematics, and science are based on grade level academic content standards and that they are linked to grade level or grade span measures of students' subject proficiency.
  3. Documentation of diverse stakeholder participation, including content specialists for the LAA1 and panelist with knowledge of limited English proficient students, in the panels that developed the academic achievement standards in English/language arts, mathematics, and science for the LAA1 and the Graduation Exit Examination (GEE).

4.0 - TECHNICAL QUALITY

  1. Documentation of the standards-setting process based primarily on expert judgments about content-based expectations and the results for the LAA1. 2. Complete technical manuals for the LAA1 that document the validity and reliability of the assessments, conditional standard errors at each cut score, and generalizability for all relevant sources.
  2. 3. Documentation that all of the planned activities related to the development of achievement level descriptors for the LAA1 have been completed and, if so, description of the outcomes and timelines. 4. Documentation and clarification regarding the State policy related to permitting Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Teams to specify low growth targets for some students taking the LAA1.

5.0 - ALIGNMENT

  1. Documentation of the results of the alignment and/or linking study of the LAA1 to the grade-level content standards or grade-level expectations.

6.0 - INCLUSION

  1. Participation data including enrollment, tested counts, and achievement data, policies, and implementation practices for reporting the achievement of migrant students who take any of the Louisiana assessments.
  2. 2. Participation data from the administration of the 2005-06 assessments in grades 3-8 and high school in English/language arts and grades assessed.

7.0 - REPORTING

  1. Documentation showing disaggregated data for migrant students on the report cards.
  2. 2. Documentation showing that student assessment participation rates are reported at the district and school levels. 3. Sample individual student report for the LAA1 for the 2007 administration.

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Last Modified: 04/23/2007