June 29, 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 peer review under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the latest peer review that occurred in May 2007.
External peer reviewers and Department staff evaluated Washington's submission and concluded, based on the evidence received, that it addresses a number of the outstanding concerns regarding Washington's system. However, Washington's standards and assessment system still does not yet meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Washington must provide in order to have a fully compliant system. Specifically, we did not find sufficient evidence to address all required elements regarding Washington's alternate assessment based on alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (WAAS-Portfolio). The complete list of evidence needed to address these concerns is on the last page of this letter.
We know that Washington will submit evidence this week that may address many of these concerns. Therefore, we are not assigning an approval status to Washington's system at this time. Because that system is not fully approved, however, we will place a condition on Washington's fiscal year 2007 Title I, Part A grant award.
To ensure that all remaining work occurs in a timely manner, I request that, within two weeks of the date of this letter, you provide my staff with a detailed timeline for how and when Washington will satisfy the remaining requirements. As part of that timeline, please indicate when you will submit evidence as it becomes available. We will review that evidence and schedule an additional peer review, if necessary.
If Washington is unable to resolve the remaining issues with its assessment system by the agreed upon timeline, we will take appropriate enforcement actions as outlined in the Department's May 10, 2007 fact sheet, including the possibility of continuing Mandatory Oversight pursuant to 34 C.F.R. §80.12. For your convenience, I am enclosing a copy of that fact sheet, which is also available on the Department's website (http://www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/statesystems.html).
Also enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Washington's assessment materials. I hope you will find the reviewers' comments and suggestions helpful.
We look forward to working with Washington to support a high-quality standards and assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call David Harmon (202-205-3554) or Martha Snyder (202-260-0941) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
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 WAAS-Portfolio in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 10 with documentation of diverse stakeholder participation.
4.0 - TECHNICAL QUALITY
- Technical quality documentation for the WAAS-Portfolio standards setting in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and 10.
5.0 - ALIGNMENT
- Documentation of reading and mathematics WAAS-Portfolio alignment at grades 3-8 and 10 with Washington's Essential Academic Learning Requirements (EALRs) and Grade Level Expectations (GLEs).
7.0 - REPORTS
- Documentation that performance descriptors are appropriately included on the WAAS- Portfolio student assessment reports.