Michigan Assessment Letter

March 23, 2006

Honorable Michael P. Flanagan
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Michigan Department of Education
608 West Allegan Street, 4th Floor
Lansing, Michigan 48933

Dear Superintendent Flanagan:

Thank you for submitting Michigan’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 Michigan’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education (ED) staff evaluated Michigan’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 Michigan must provide in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under NCLB. That evidence is listed on the last page of this letter.

I commend Michigan for its commitment to including students with disabilities in the assessment system. For students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, Michigan has developed multiple assessments based on alternate achievement standards. At present, only the MI-Access Functional Independence appears to meet the requirements for this type of assessment, although, as noted above, additional information is required. Reviewers noted that the MI-Access Participation and Supported Independence assessments are not linked to grade-level content standards and, therefore, cannot be approved as part of the assessment system used for adequate yearly progress determinations under NCLB.

I appreciate that Michigan submitted additional evidence in February that satisfied a number of issues and invite you to submit any other available evidence as soon as possible to address the few remaining issues listed on the next page. I also request that, as soon as possible, you provide us a plan with a detailed timeline for how Michigan will meet any remaining requirements for which evidence is not currently available. After receiving those materials, I will then determine the appropriate approval status for Michigan’s standards and assessment system.

Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Michigan’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. Based on this first review, Michigan should anticipate the need to submit materials for a second peer review.

We look forward to working with Michigan to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further, please do not hesitate to call Sue Rigney (202-260-0931) or Abigail Potts (202-260-2465) of my staff.


Henry L. Johnson


cc: Dr. Edward Roeber
Linda Brown

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


  1. Documentation that test and item scores are related to internal or external variables as intended.
  2. Data showing internal consistency, empirical IRT reliability, conditional standard errors of measurement and estimates of classification accuracy.
  3. Inter-rater reliability for hand scored responses.
  4. Evaluation of accommodations as indicated in the peer notes.
  5. Comparability of student classifications on the regular MEAP and translated forms.


  1. Alignment of MI-Access (all components) with Michigan content standards.

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