September 1, 2005
Dr. Terry Bergeson
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Washington Department of Public Instruction
P.O. Box 47200
Olympia, WA 98504-7200
Dear Superintendent Bergeson:
I am writing in response to Washington's request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The changes you requested are aligned with NCLB and are now included in an amended State accountability plan that Washington submitted to the Department on July 11, 2005. The changes are listed in an attachment to this letter. I am pleased to fully approve Washington's amended plan, which we will post on the Department's website.
If, over time, Washingon makes additional changes to the accountability plan that has been approved, Washington must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval, as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I. Note that approval of Washington's accountability plan is not an approval of Washington's standards and assessment system. As Washington makes changes in its standards and assessments to meet requirements under NCLB, Washington must submit information about those changes to the Department for peer review through the standards and assessment process.
Please also be aware that approval of Washington's accountability plan for Title I, including the amendment approved above, 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 Washington will continue to advance its efforts to hold schools and school districts accountable for the achievement of all students. I wish you well in your school improvement efforts. If I can be of any additional assistance to Washington in its efforts to implement other aspects of NCLB, please do not hesitate to call.
Henry L. Johnson
cc: Governor Christine Gregoire
Amendments to Washington's Accountability Plan
This statement is a summary of the amendments. For complete details, please refer to the Washington accountability plan on the Department's website: www.ed.gov/admins/lead/account/stateplans03/index.html.
AYP definition (Elements 3.1, 3.2, 5.2, 5.4, 8.1, and Appendix B)
- Washington will use writing in combination with reading as an alternative option to reading when determining proficiency in language arts grades 4, 7, and 10. Washington will use traditional rounding rules when calculating safe harbor, graduation rate, and participation rates. For the upcoming standards and assessments peer review, Washington must submit appropriate evidence that demonstrates that both the reading/writing combination and the reading only option meet the required critical elements for the state's assessment system.
Graduation rate (Element 7.1)
- Washington will allow a longer time for LEP and migrant students to graduate on time, when determined on an individual basis that additional time is needed.
- Washington will establish a new trajectory for graduation rates. The new trajectory requires schools and districts to reach an escalating increase in graduation rate targets.
- Washington will report and use for accountability purposes dropout rates for high schools (those without a 12th grade) without the capability to graduate students.
Extended graduation rate (Element 7.1)
- Washington will calculate, for AYP purposes, a graduation rate that takes into account those students who graduate in more than four years. Both graduation rates will be reported - one based on "standard number of years" and one based "extended number of years" - but the extended rate will be used for AYP purposes.
Early test administration (Element 9.3)
- Washington will bank test scores if taken earlier and deemed proficient, but will not count an early attempt if the score does not meet proficiency.
Uniform averaging procedure and AYP (Elements 1.2, 9.3, and 10.1)
- Washington will delay using tests for AYP purposes in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8 until the 2006-07 school year, but will administer assessments in grades 3-8 and once in high school during the 2005-06 school year and will report those results to students and include the information on all the related school, district, and state report cards.