COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA
DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION
P.O. BOX 2120
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120
SUPTS. MEMO NO. 70
March 26, 2004
Jo Lynne DeMary
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Proposed Revisions to the Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001
At its March 24 meeting, the Virginia Board of Education adopted proposed revisions to the Consolidated State Application Accountability Workbook Under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. These revisions (see Attachment A) will be sent to the U.S. Department of Education (USED) for review and, if approved by USED, will be used to make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) decisions for the 2003-2004 assessment period. The proposed revisions were identified based on recent guidance received from USED, a review of letters USED has sent other states related to policy decisions, and lessons learned from a year of implementation at the state and local levels.
The proposed changes in the workbook fall into four categories:
(1) identification and application of the "other academic indicator" for schools without a graduating class. In determining AYP, Virginia proposes to allow schools, local education agencies (LEAs), and the state to use either attendance (as currently approved) or Standards of Learning science assessment scores, whichever yields the better AYP determination. The annual measurable objective for attendance will be maintained at 94 percent and the annual measurable objective for science will be set and maintained at 70 percent.
(2) how states determine if a school, school division, and the state have made AYP. If the annual measurable objectives for reading and mathematics assessment results are met and the 95 percent participation rate is met, a school, LEA, or state will make AYP. Consideration may be given to the other academic indicator, but it will not be required unless safe harbor is exercised. Additionally, Virginia is proposing to include in AYP calculations passing scores from expedited test administrations.
(3) how Title I schools and school divisions may request a review or appeal of AYP decisions. This revision is a clarification of the current language in the approved workbook. The proposed revision clarifies that Title I schools may ask their division superintendent for a review or appeal of an accountability determination that could lead to school improvement sanctions. The school will ask the LEA to review its evidence and the LEA will send a recommendation with supporting documentation, if a change is requested, to the Virginia Department of Education for review and validation. The department will have the final decision. The NCLB law includes a provision for Title I schools and school divisions to request a review of an accountability decision, based on statistical or substantive cause.
(4) testing and AYP calculation policies for limited English proficient students. Virginia will exercise the flexible option USED provided all states involving LEP students who are enrolled during their first year in a U.S. public school. Virginia will continue to implement all previously approved provisions in its workbook.
In addition to proposed revisions to the workbook, the Board of Education accepted for first review a revised policy (see attached small n school board item) on the procedure for determining AYP for "small n schools". The proposed policy provides that the department will automatically calculate small n school AYP determinations using at least three years of SOL scores. If a school does not meet the assessment target, the school division will review a body of evidence and send the department an AYP recommendation for validation and inclusion in state reports. The department will review Title I school determinations and make final decisions. The board will take final action on this policy at its April 2004 meeting.
Finally, the Board of Education approved a letter to USED asking for an exception to the 1 percent special education rule that limits the number of proficient scores on assessments based on alternate achievement standards that can be counted towards AYP. The board is asking for a 3.5 percent exception for three years.
It is important to remember the proposed accountability workbook changes and the request for an exception to the 1 percent rule must be approved by the U.S. Department of Education prior to implementing.
In anticipation of USED's approval of these revisions, I encourage school divisions that have Title I schools on our "watch list" for school improvement in 2004-2005 to review their accountability determination against the above flexibilities. As indicated in a February 2004 letter to these superintendents, if you have evidence to indicate the AYP or school improvement determination is not accurate, please contact the department to discuss a review process. Questions should be directed to Shady Clark (firstname.lastname@example.org), Title I coordinator at (804) 225-2901.