June 17, 2005
Honorable David Stewart
State Superintendent of Schools
West Virginia Department of Education
1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East
Building 6, Room B-358
Charleston, WV 25305
Dear Superintendent Stewart:
Thank you for submitting West Virginia's assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary 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 yields useful feedback that will support your State's efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards. West Virginia 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 the U.S. Department of Education staff evaluated West Virginia's submission and found that, except for the critical elements noted below, West Virginia's assessment system meets the ESEA's standards and assessment requirements.
To receive Full Approval for 2005-2006, additional evidence is needed to show how West Virginia meets the following critical elements of the NCLB standards and assessment peer review guidance:
- 2.0 - the formal adoption/approval of the West Virginia alternate academic achievement standards including technical and stakeholder participation documentation.
- 4.0 - the technical quality of the West Virginia alternate assessments.
- 5.0 - the alignment/linkages of the West Virginia alternate assessments to the State's academic content and student academic achievement standards.
To receive Full Approval for science by 2007-2008, additional evidence is needed to show how West Virginia meets the following critical element of the NCLB standards and assessment peer review guidance:
- 5.0 - the alignment of the West Virginia science assessments to the State's academic content and student academic achievement standards.
Because West Virginia's standards and assessment system meet most, but not all, of ESEA's statutory and regulatory requirements and because, after conferring with your staff, ED believes that West Virginia can take the necessary steps to come into full compliance, I am granting 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.
West Virginia 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 peer and/or ED staff review. Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated the West Virginia assessment materials. I hope you will find the reviewers' comments and suggestions helpful.
We look forward to working with West Virginia to support a high quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call David J. Harmon (202-205-3554) or Meredith Miller (202-401-8368) of my staff.
Cc: Dr. Jan Barth
Mr. Keith Butcher