December 21, 2006
Dr. Terry Bergeson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 47200
Olympia, Washington 98504-7200
Dear Superintendent Bergeson:
Thank you for submitting Washington's assessment materials for an additional peer 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).
In my letter to you on June 22, 2006, I enumerated the fundamental components as well as a number of additional technical issues that had not met the standards and assessment requirements of the ESEA after the first peer review. Specifically, the Department could not approve the technical quality, alignment and academic achievement standards of the alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (the Developmentally Appropriate Washington Assessment of Student Learning, or DAW) and the alignment of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) and the Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS) to grade level content and academic achievement standards. The peer reviewers and Department staff evaluated Washington's additional submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it still does not meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. Specifically, the peer review of this evidence suggests that there remain concerns regarding the technical quality, alignment, and academic achievement standards of the WAAS-DAW and the alignment of the WAAS-Portfolio to grade level content and academic achievement standards.
Because the peer review did not resolve all outstanding issues, the status of Washington's standards and assessment system remains Approval Pending. The enclosure provides a detailed list of the evidence Washington must still submit to meet the requirements for an approved standards and assessment system. Please note that Washington 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.
Because the status of Washington' standards and assessment system is still Approval Pending, Washington continues to be under Mandatory Oversight, as authorized under 34 C.F.R. §80.12. Under this status, we placed specific conditions on Washington's fiscal year 2006 Title I, Part A grant award. If, at any time, Washington does not meet the timeline approved by the Department on September 8, the Department will initiate proceedings, pursuant to Section 1111(g)(2) of the ESEA, to withhold 15 percent of Washington's fiscal year 2006 Title I, Part A administrative funds, which will then revert to local educational agencies in Washington.
I appreciate the steps Washington 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. I also appreciate your willingness to join the LEP Partnership; we believe that this is the first step in providing Washington assistance in appropriately assessing LEP students. We also remain available to provide technical assistance regarding other 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 David Harmon (David.Harmon@ed.gov) or Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Christine Gregoire
Summary of Additional Evidence that Washington Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Washington Assessment System
2.0 - ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT STANDARDS
- Approved academic achievement standards for the Developmentally Appropriate Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WAAS-DAW) in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 10 with documentation of diverse stakeholder participation, if used for AYP.
- Approved alternate academic achievement standards for the Washington Alternate Assessment System-Portfolio (WAAS-Portfolio) in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 10 with documentation of diverse stakeholder participation.
3.0 - FULL ASSESSMENT SYSTEM
- Documentation that WAAS-DAW meets all ESEA assessment system requirements, if used for AYP.
4.0 - TECHNICAL QUALITY
- Documentation of the validity and reliability of the Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WASL) at grades 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 10.
- Documentation of the validity and reliability of the WAAS-Portfolio at grades 3, 5, 6, and 8.
- Technical quality documentation for WASL and WAAS-Portfolio standard setting in reading and mathematics at grades 3, 5, 6, and 8.
- Documentation of the technical quality (validity, reliability, standard setting) of the WAAS-DAW, if used for AYP.
5.0 - ALIGNMENT
- Plans delineating on-going and long-term processes whereby alignment between the assessment(s) and the Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs) will be monitored and improved over time.
- Documentation (including detailed test blueprints and item specifications) of reading and math WAAS-DAW alignment at grades 3-8 and 10 with Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).
- Documentation of reading and mathematics WAAS-Portfolio alignment at grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 with Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).
7.0 - REPORTING
- Documentation that performance descriptors are appropriately included on WAAS-DAW and WAAS-Portfolio student assessment reports.