June 5, 2008
The Honorable Jim Rex
State Superintendent of Education
South Carolina Department of Education
1006 Rutledge Building
1429 Senate Street
Columbia, South Carolina 29201
Dear Superintendent Rex:
I am writing in response to South Carolina's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Following our discussions with your staff, the approved changes are now included in an amended state accountability plan that South Carolina submitted to the Department on May 19, 2008. I am pleased to fully approve South Carolina's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website. A summary of the amendments submitted for the 2007-08 school year is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the South Carolina accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I.
Please also be aware that approval of South Carolina's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments approved herein, does not indicate that the plan complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
I am confident that South Carolina will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. If you need any additional assistance to implement the standards, assessment, and accountability provisions of NCLB, please do not hesitate to contact Jessica Morffi (Jessica.Morffi@ed.gov) or Valeria Ford (Valeria.Ford@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Mark Sanford
Amendments to the South Carolina Accountability Plan
The following is a summary of the state's amendment requests. Please refer to the Department's website (www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html) for the complete South Carolina Accountability Plan.
The following amendments are aligned with the statute and regulations:
General workbook clarifications (Elements 5.4 and 6.1)
Revision: South Carolina clarified language throughout its workbook to reflect the state's current practice of exempting recently arrived limited English proficient (LEP) students in their first year in schools in the United States from one administration of the reading/language arts assessment and detailing assessments used for adequate yearly progress (AYP) in the state.
Including students with disabilities in AYP determinations (Element 3.2)
Revision: South Carolina will use the "proxy method" (option 1 in our guidance dated December 2005 and described in the Department's Non-Regulatory Guidance regarding Modified Academic Achievement Standards) to take advantage of the transition flexibility authorized in 34 C.F.R. § 200.20(g) regarding calculating AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup. See the Secretary's guidance at: http://www.ed.gov/policy/speced/guid/modachieve-summary.html. South Carolina will calculate a proxy to determine the percentage of students with disabilities that is equivalent to 2.0 percent of all students assessed. For this year only, this proxy will then be added to the percentage of students with disabilities who are proficient. For any school or district that did not make AYP solely due to its students with disabilities subgroup, South Carolina will use this adjusted percent proficient to re-examine whether the school or district made AYP for the 2007-08 school year.
Minimum group size (Element 5.5)
Revision: South Carolina will use a uniform minimum group size of 40 students for all student groups when calculating the achievement component of AYP.