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North Carolina Assessment Letter

June 17, 2005

Honorable Janice Davis
Interim Superintendent of Public Instruction
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
301 N. Wilmington Street
Raleigh, North Carolina 27601-2825

Dear Superintendent Davis:

Thank you for submitting North Carolina's assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards. North Carolina is to be commended for being among the first five States submitting evidence of compliance with the NCLB standards and assessment requirements.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education staff evaluated North Carolina's submission and found it to be in substantial compliance with ESEA’s standards and assessment requirements. The review found that, except for the critical elements noted below, North Carolina's assessment system meets the requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) of ESEA.

Additional evidence is needed to show how North Carolina meets the following critical elements of the NCLB standards and assessment peer review guidance:

  • 2.0 – Content specific competency-based performance descriptors for all assessments being used for NCLB accountability.

  • 4.0 - the technical quality of the North Carolina alternate assessments and the high school English/language arts exam.

  • 5.0 - the alignment of the North Carolina alternate assessment to the State's academic content and student academic achievement standards. The comparability of the North Carolina Alternate Assessment - Academic Inventory with the End-of-Grade and End-of-Course assessments also needs to be established if it is to be used as an alternate assessment based on academic achievement standards for English language learners.

  • 7.0 – the addition of the economically disadvantaged reporting category on North Carolina's high school assessment reports at the school, district and State levels.

Because North Carolina's standards and assessment system meets most, but not all, of ESEA’s statutory and regulatory requirements, and because after conferring with your staff, ED believes that North Carolina can take the necessary steps to come into full compliance, I am offering Deferred Approval of your assessment system. To receive Deferred Approval status, a State must clearly articulate to ED how it will meet the remaining requirements and be able to fully implement its standards and assessment system by the end of the 2005-2006 school year.

North Carolina must submit to ED as soon as possible its plan for coming into full compliance and the timeframe for submitting additional evidence of compliance. When the required additional evidence has been submitted, it will be subject to peer and/or ED staff review. Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated the North Carolina assessment materials. I hope you will find the reviewers' comments and suggestions helpful.

We look forward to working with North Carolina to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call Zollie Stevenson, Jr. (202-260-1824) or Meredith Miller (202-401-8368) of my staff.

Sincerely,

Raymond Simon

Enclosure

cc: Mr. Louis Fabrizio
Mr. Curtis Bynum

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Last Modified: 04/07/2006