Decision Letter on Request to Amend North Dakota State Accountability Plan

May 10, 2007

The Honorable Wayne G. Sanstead
State Superintendent
North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
600 East Boulevard Avenue
Bismark, ND 58505-0440

Dear Superintendent Sanstead:

I am writing in response to North Dakota’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 changes are now included in an amended State accountability plan that North Dakota submitted to the Department on April 26, 2007. I am pleased to fully approve North Dakota’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. A summary of the approved amendments is enclosed with this letter. As you know, any further requests to amend the North Dakota 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 North Dakota’s accountability plan for Title I, including the amendments 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 North Dakota 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 Jeff Johnson ( or Grace Ross ( of my staff.


Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
Acting Assistant Secretary


cc: Governor Tom Vilsack
Greg Gallagher

Amendments to the North Dakota Accountability Plan

The following is a summary of the State’s amendment requests. Please refer to the Department’s website (www.ed.gov for the complete North Dakota accountability plan.

Full academic year (Element 2.2)

Revision: North Dakota is a fall testing state and a full academic year is defined, as “a student has been enrolled at a school or within a LEA for a period equal to or exceeding 173 instructional days.” The full academic year may span from fall test administration to fall test administration, which may result in students not being included in adequate yearly progress (AYP) determinations when progressing from elementary to middle school. North Dakota clarified that a student who has not been enrolled in a school for the entire year but has been enrolled in the district for the entire year will be included in the AYP determination for the school, district and State.

Determining adequate yearly progress (Element 4.1)

Revision: North Dakota will base AYP decisions for the 2006-07 school year on student achievement data for the current year for grades 3-8, and 11, rather than on the three-year uniform average of data from assessments in grades 4, 8, and 11.

Including Students with Disabilities (Element 5.3)

Revision: North Dakota will take advantage of the interim flexibility regarding determining AYP for the students with disabilities subgroup using option 2 in our guidance (refer to: http://www.ed.gov Schools and districts will include as proficient (up to a 2.0 percent cap at the district and State level) students who take the North Dakota alternate assessment based upon modified academic achievement standards.

Decision Letters on State Accountability Plans