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Missouri Assessment Letter

October 3, 2007

The Honorable D. Kent King
Commissioner of Education
Missouri Department of
Elementary and Secondary Education
P. O. Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480

Dear Commissioner King:

I am pleased to approve Missouri's assessment system beginning with the 2007-08 school year 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). I congratulate you on meeting this important NCLB requirement; an assessment system that produces valid and reliable results is fundamental to a State's accountability system.

My decision is based on input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Education (the Department) and Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by Missouri. I have concluded that the evidence demonstrates that Missouri's standards and assessment system satisfies the ESEA requirements. Specifically, Missouri's system includes the administration of grade-level assessments, the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP), in each of grades 3-8 and 10 in mathematics and in each of grades 3-8 and 11 in reading/language arts, and the administration of the Missouri Assessment Program - Alternate (MAP-A) in reading/language arts in grades 3-8 and 11 and in mathematics in grades 3-8 and 10.

Accordingly, Missouri's system warrants Full Approval with Recommendations. This status means that Missouri's standards and assessment system meets all statutory and regulatory requirements for reading/language arts and mathematics, but the assessment system could be strengthened in some ways. In particular, we recommend that Missouri include more information supporting the interpretation and use of the district MAP-A reports and make the parent report more informative, student-centered, and easier to interpret. Also, Missouri should seek the assistance of its Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to research and implement alternate alignment study methodologies more suitable to the MAP-A portfolio-based assessment.

Please be aware that approval of Missouri's assessment system under NCLB is not a determination that the system 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. Finally, please remember that, if Missouri makes significant changes to its assessment system, the State must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval.

We have found it a pleasure working with your staff on this review. Please accept my congratulations on your State's approved standards and assessment system under ESEA. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in Missouri.

Sincerely,

Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.

cc: Governor Matt Blunt
Walt Brown
Susan Newbolt

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Last Modified: 10/22/2007