Decision Letter on Request to Amend Utah Accountability Plan

August 5, 2011

The Honorable Larry K. Shumway, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Public Instruction
Utah State Office of Education
P.O. Box 144200
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114·4200

Dear Superintendent Shumway:

On behalf of Secretary Duncan, I want to thank you for your hard work in implementing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. I am writing in response to Utah’s request to amend its State accountability plan under Title I of the ESEA. Following communications between the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and your staff, you made changes to Utah’s accountability plan, which are included in the amended state accountability plan that Utah submitted to the Department on June 28, 2011. Please note that, as reflected in the enclosed summary of Utah’s amendment requests, the Department cannot approve one of Utah’s amendments. However, I am pleased to approve the remainder of Utah’s amended plan, which we will post on the Department’s website. As you know, any further requests to amend Utah’s accountability plan must be submitted to the Department for review and approval as required by section 1111(f)(2) of Title I of the ESEA.

Please also be aware that approval of Utah’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 Utah 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, assessments, and accountability provisions of the ESEA, please do not hesitate to contact


Michael Yudin
Deputy Assistant Secretary
for Policy and Strategic Initiatives


cc; Governor Gary R. Herbert
John Jesse
Judy Park

Amendments to Utah’s Accountability Plan

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

Acceptable amendment

The following amendment is aligned with the statute and regulations.

  • Accountabilitv system establishes intermediate goals. (Element 3.2c)
  • Revision: The Department approves Uta h’s request to revise its intermediate goals to maintain its 2009-20 I 0 annual measureable objectives (AMOs) through the 2010- 2011 school year, resulting in three years with the same AMOs. Section 1111 (b)(2)(E) through (1-1) of the ESEA requires each State to establish a trajectory of intermediate goals and AMOs toward the goal of all students achieving proficiency by thc 2013-2014 school year. Each State must set intermediate goals that increase in equal incrcments ovcr the period covered by the timeline with each increase occurring in not more than three years. Absent implementation of new assessments or the establishment of new achievement standards, a State may change its intermediate goals only if the change results in a complete time line that could have been proposed originally (i.e., the change itself is legal, the remainder of the timeline will be legal, and the change docs not in va lidate the intermediate goals used in prior years).

    Utah’s request to revise its intermediate goals is consistent with the statutory requirements. That is, Utah’s request would delay the increase in intermediate goals for not more than three years and would not interrupt Utah’s pattern of increasing its intermediate goals in equal increments. Moreover, the change would not invalidate the AMOs used by Utah in prior years.

Unacceptable amendment

The following amendment is not aligned with the statute and regulations and is, therefore, not approved.

  • Accountability system has a method for determining adequate yearly progress (AVP) (Element 3.2)
  • Revision: The Department cannot approve Utah’s request 10 use its Utah Performance Assessment System for Students (U-PASS) growth model results to serve as an addition to safe harbor in A YP determinations for the 2010-2011 school year. To incorporate student growth in the State’s definition of AYP, a State first must obtain a waiver under section 9401 of the ESEA. As part of this process, a proposed growth model would be subject to peer review. Although Utah uses the U-PASS growth model as part of its State accountability system, the Department has not approved Utah to usc the U-PASS for Federal accountability

Decision Letters on State Accountability Plans