COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 1

May 2, 2003

INTERPRETIVE

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Board of Education Resolution on Testing Policies in Effect for the 2002-2003 Academic Year and Other Actions Related to NCLB Accountability Requirements

 

The Virginia Board of Education adopted the following resolution at its April 29, 2003, meeting that clarifies Standards of Learning testing polices in effect for the 2002-2003 school year. Since Standards of Learning testing for the current academic year has already begun and the board continues to discuss with the U.S. Department of Education (USED) testing policies required in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) related to children with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency, the board adopted the following resolution:

 

Virginia Board of Education Resolution

Testing Policies in Effect for the 2002-03 Academic Year

 

 

Whereas, the Virginia Board of Education established policies for the administration of Standards of Learning (SOL) tests in its 1997 amendments to the Standards of Accreditation, which amendments included provisions related to the participation of children with disabilities and children with limited or no English proficiency in the SOL testing program; and

 

Whereas, local school divisions have followed these testing policies since the beginning of Standards of Learning testing in the 1997-98 academic year; and

 

Whereas, on November 26, 2002, several months after schools in Virginia had begun their 2002-03 academic year and after fall SOL testing had begun in many local school divisions, USED issued final regulations implementing the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001; and

 

Whereas, on January 28, 2003, the Board approved its Consolidated Application Accountability Workbook under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, which represented Virginias most detailed implementation plan for the law, and submitted it to USED before the January 31, 2003 deadline; and

 

Whereas, on February 24, 2003, President Mark Christie, Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary, Deputy Secretary of Education Sarah Finley, and key Virginia Department of Education officials met with the USED peer review panel to answer questions and present evidence in support of the Boards January 28, 2003, accountability workbook; and

 

Whereas, on March 5, 2003, the Virginia Department of Education received a letter from USED that explained the peer review process and stated that USED would respond in writing to the state education agency (the Board) within four weeks of the February 24 meeting; and

 

Whereas, on March 20, 2003, the USED issued a notice of proposed rulemaking and solicited public comment by May 19, 2003, on proposed additional amendments to the final No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 regulations that relate to testing policies for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities; and

 

Whereas, on April 3, 2003, the USED issued further guidance on completing the Consolidated State Application submission that is due May 1, 2003; and

 

Whereas, on April 18, 2003, President Mark Christie received a letter from USED Undersecretary Eugene Hickok, nearly three months after Virginia filed its consolidated workbook and more than seven weeks after the peer review meeting, which cited issues that must be resolved or clarified before approval of Virginias plan can be granted; and

 

Whereas, based on Undersecretary Hickoks letter, several issues which represent major changes to Virginias SOL testing policies in effect since 1997 continue to be the subject of discussion between USED and Virginia; and

 

Whereas, spring SOL testing for the current academic year has already begun, with schools throughout Virginia following testing policies for student participation contained in the Standards of Accreditation since 1997; and

 

Whereas, with fall 2002 SOL testing already complete and spring 2003 SOL testing already underway, it would be impractical and extremely disruptive to change SOL testing policies at this point, especially before the extent of required policy changes have even been resolved through the Boards discussions with USED;

 

Now therefore, be it resolved, that the student participation requirements for the spring 2003 Standards of Learning test administration will be governed by the Regulations Establishing Standards for Accrediting Public Schools in Virginia (8 VAC 20-131-10 et seq.).

 

Adopted in Richmond This 29th Day of April in the Year 2003.

Mark C. Christie, President, Virginia Board of Education

______________________________________________________

 

At its April 29, 2003, meeting the Board of Education also adopted revisions to the January 28, 2003, Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook, which outlines how Virginia is meeting or plans to meet the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) accountability requirements. The final Accountability Workbook and information on baseline data, state performance targets, and timelines for meeting certain AYP-related performance indicators are due to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) by May 1, 2003. The revised accountability workbook and consolidated application that identifies baseline data and performance targets can be accessed at: http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/nclb/ .

 

While most of the changes in the January 28, 2003, Accountability Workbook were nonmaterial, the Board of Education approved, subject to USED approval, a revised testing plan for children with disabilities that calls for continuing the current alternate assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities and developing new alternate assessments for certain children with disabilities that would be measured against grade-level achievement standards. The childs Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will determine the appropriate assessment for the child based on guidelines to be provided by the state.

 

The testing policy that was proposed for limited English proficient (LEP) students was clarified in the revised Accountability Workbook. The development of additional mathematics assessments with linguistic accommodations (i.e., plain language forms) has been accelerated, and we anticipate having these tests available in 2003-2004. Otherwise, the proposed policy is the same as the one proposed in the January 28 workbook.

 

Questions related to the status of Virginias implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act should be directed to Dr. Patricia I. Wright (pwright@mail.vak12ed.edu), assistant superintendent for instruction, at 804-225-2979. If you have questions about specific testing policies, please contact Ms. Shelley Loving-Ryder (sryder@mail.vak12ed.edu), assistant superintendent for assessment and reporting, at 804-225-2102. Questions related to adequate yearly progress measures should be directed to Dr. Cheri Magill (cmagill@mail.vak12ed.edu), director of accreditation, at 802-786-1062. Questions related to compensatory programs should be directed to Mr. George Irby (girby@mail.vak12ed.edu), director of compensatory programs, at 804-225-2869.

 

 

JLD/PIW