March 30, 2007
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 of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
In the Department's letter to you on December 21, 2006, former Assistant Secretary Johnson 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 and second peer reviews. Specifically, the Department could not approve the technical quality, alignment, and academic achievement standards of the Developmentally Appropriate Washington Assessment of Student Learning (WAAS-DAW) and the alignment of the Washington Alternate Assessment System (WAAS-Portfolio) to grade-level content and alternate academic achievement standards. You have since provided documentation that the WAAS-DAW will not be used for adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations in 2006-07 and that all students will take either the WASL, with or without accommodations, or the WAAS-Portfolio. On January 22-23, 2007, 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 alignment of the WAAS-Portfolio to grade-level content and alternate 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 a fully approved standards and assessment system. I encourage you to bring in all available evidence for review by the peers at the earliest possible convenience. 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's 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.
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 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 David Harmon (David.Harmon@ed.gov) or Patrick Rooney (Patrick.Rooney@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D. Acting Assistant Secretary
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 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.
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.
- Technical quality documentation for the WAAS-Portfolio standards-setting in reading and mathematics at grades 3, 5, 6, and 8.
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 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 the WAAS-Portfolio student assessment reports.