May 20, 2008
The Honorable Peter McWalters
Commissioner of Education
Rhode Island Department of Education
255 Westminster Street
Providence, Rhode Island 02903
Dear Commissioner McWalters:
I am pleased to approve Rhode Island's assessment system 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.
My decision is based on input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by Rhode Island. I have concluded that the evidence demonstrates that Rhode Island's standards and assessment system satisfies the NCLB requirements. Specifically, Rhode Island's system includes academic content standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; student achievement standards in reading/language arts and mathematics; alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in reading/language arts and mathematics; and assessments and alternate assessments in each of grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school in reading/language arts and mathematics. Accordingly, Rhode Island's system warrants Full Approval. This status means that Rhode Island's standards and assessment system meets all statutory and regulatory requirements for reading/language arts and mathematics.
Please be aware that approval of Rhode Island'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 Rhode Island makes significant changes in 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 NCLB. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in Rhode Island.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Donald L. Carcieri
Mary Ann Snider