Date: May 8, 2015
The Honorable John White
State Superintendent of Education
Louisiana Department of Education
PO Box 94064
1201 North 3rd Street, 5th Floor
Baton Rouge, LA 70804
Dear Superintendent White:
I am writing in response to the Louisiana Department of Education’s (LDOE) request to amend its approved Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) flexibility request. On February 2, 2015, Louisiana submitted several amendments to Principles 1 and 2 of the request. LDOE submitted additional materials and information pursuant to this amendment request on March 12, 2015, and on April 10, 2015.
After reviewing LDOE’s amendment request, I am granting approval, pursuant to my authority under ESEA section 9401, of all the proposed amendments. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter. Louisiana’s amended request will be posted on the Department’s website. Any further requests to amend Louisiana’s ESEA flexibility request must be submitted to the Department for review and approval.
I am confident that Louisiana will continue to implement the reforms it proposed under its approved ESEA flexibility request and advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement your ESEA flexibility request, please do not hesitate to contact Elizabeth Witt of my staff at OSS.Louisiana@ed.gov.
Thank you for your continued focus on enhancing education for all of Louisiana’s students.
Deborah S. Delisle
cc: Bridget Devlin, Louisiana Department of Education
Amendments to Louisiana’s Approved ESEA Flexibility Request
The following is a summary of amendments to Louisiana’s approved ESEA flexibility request. The Department approves the following amendments because Louisiana’s ESEA flexibility request, as amended, continues to be aligned with the principles of ESEA flexibility. Please refer to ED’s website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for Louisiana’s complete ESEA flexibility request.
Throughout Principles 1 and 2
Revision: LDOE has added references to continued use of EXPLORE and PLAN assessments. LDOE has supplied a letter from ACT indicating that the State has made arrangements to continue use of the EXPLORE and PLAN assessments in school year 2014-2015, even though ACT has discontinued the assessments.
Transition to College and Career Ready Standards (1.B)
Revision: LDOE will not use PARCC high school assessments for ESEA accountability purposes. Instead it will use both the ACT and the State’s EOC assessment to calculate accountability ratings for high schools.
Revision: LDOE has added text to its request discussing how it will implement Act 833, a State law passed in 2014 that allows students with disabilities who have persistent academic challenges to demonstrate proficiency for promotions and for high school graduation in ways other than the standardized assessments and has indicated in the mended text that the State statute will be implemented in a manner that complies with both the ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Develop and Implement a State-Based System of Differentiated Recognition, Accountability and Support (2.A) and Set Ambitious but Achievable Annual Measurable Objectives (2.B)
Revision: The LDOE will adjust the method for calculating school performance points based on performance of non-proficient students. Under the revised method, schools serving students in grades 3-8 still earn progress points if they make significant progress with non-proficient students in ELA or math. In order to earn the points, a school still has to have at least 10 students who were non-proficient in the prior and current years in math, ELA, or both; but it must have at least 50 percent of these students achieve their expected growth in math, ELA, or both. If both these things occurred the school earns 0.1 points for students who were “Unsatisfactory” and exceed their target and 0.05 points for students who were “Approaching Basic” and exceed their target.
Develop and Implement a State-Based System of Differentiated Recognition, Accountability and Support (2.A)
Revision: LDOE will provide high schools with 50 additional points in the graduation index calculation when students earning a regular diploma also earn college credits or an advanced statewide industry based credential. This change is part of the State’s new Jump Start program, which is designed to encourage student participation in high-quality career education.
Revision: In the high school accountability index, LDOE will use a student’s score on the WorkKeys assessment in lieu of his/her ACT score when the student has taken both assessments but achieves a higher score on the WorkKeys than on the ACT.
Set Ambitious but Achievable Annual Measurable Objectives (2.B)
Revision: LDOE proposes to use the ACT series (EXPLORE, PLAN, and ACT) to recognize the progress of previously non-proficient students in the high school grades. If at least 30 percent of previously non-proficient students (as determined by the most recent ELA or math tests within the prior two years of state testing) exceed expectations on the ACT series (i.e. score at the top of the range or higher from one test to the next (EXPLORE to PLAN or PLAN to ACT), then schools will earn .1 point for every number or percent of students previously scoring at “Approaching Basic” who exceed expectations and .2 point for all students previously scoring at “Unsatisfactory” who exceed expectations.