Indiana Assessment Letter

March 21, 2006

Honorable Suellen K. Reed
Indiana Department of Education
Room 229, State House
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204-2798

Dear Superintendent Reed:

Thank you for submitting Indiana’s assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support Indiana’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education (ED) staff evaluated Indiana’s submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it did not meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Indiana must provide in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under NCLB. That evidence is listed on the last pages of this letter.

I urge you to submit any available evidence demonstrating how the system meets the standards and assessment requirements as soon as possible. I also request that, as soon as possible, you provide us a plan, including a detailed timeline, for how Indiana will meet any remaining requirements. When Indiana has submitted this additional evidence and plan, the peer reviewers and ED staff will review it. My staff will work with you to schedule a second peer review as soon as possible. After that review, I will then determine the appropriate approval status for Indiana’s standards and assessment system.

Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Indiana’s assessment materials. The peer reviewers, experts in the areas of standards and assessment, review and discuss a State’s submission of evidence and prepare a consensus report. I hope you will find the reviewers’ comments and suggestions helpful.

We look forward to working with Indiana to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call David J. Harmon (202-205-3554) or Patrick Rooney (202-205-8831) of my staff.


Henry L. Johnson


cc: Wes Bruce

Summary of Additional Evidence that Indiana Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Indiana Assessment System


Indiana meets this requirement for English/language arts, mathematics, and science; no additional evidence is needed.


  1. Evidence that academic achievement standards have been developed and State Board-adopted for those limited-English-proficient students who are tested with the alternate assessment.
  2. Evidence of Board approval of performance level descriptors.
  3. Evidence that academic achievement standards and performance level descriptors have been developed in science.


  1. Evidence, including a plan and timeline, that Indiana is addressing the issues of depth of knowledge and challenge identified by its assessment reviews.
  2. Evidence on the comparability of ISTEP+ and ISTAR achievement levels when ISTAR is administered to limited-English-proficient students.


  1. Evidence of ISTAR reliability for use with students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency.
  2. Evidence of ISTAR validity when administered to students with limited English proficiency.
  3. Evidence of the technical quality of the required ISTAR achievement standards for use with limited-English-proficient students.


  1. Alignment of grades 4, 5, and 7 in English/language arts and mathematics assessments with grade level content standards.
  2. Plan to use the results from the various alignment studies to address such issues of depth of knowledge, challenge, and rigor, especially at the upper grades in mathematics.


Indiana meets this requirement; no additional evidence is needed. In response to concerns of the peers, Indiana submitted additional documents that clarify how reasonable accommodations are provided to students with disabilities and LEP students who are assessed with the ISTEP+.


“Mock-up” or sample individual student reports showing academic achievement standards with descriptions of what students know and can do at different performance levels.

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