Nebraska Assessment Letter

December 15, 2008

Dr. Marge Harouff
Deputy Commissioner of Education
Nebraska Department of Education
301 Centennial Mall South
Lincoln, NE 68509-4987

Dear Deputy Commissioner Harouff:

I am writing regarding our review of Nebraska’s science assessments under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).

Thank you for submitting evidence on Nebraska’s science assessment. We appreciate your efforts in putting together this information. As outlined in my letter of February 28, 2008, states had to meet four basic requirements in science for the 2007–08 school year. In particular, each state was required to: (1) have approved content standards in science; (2) administer a regular and alternate science assessment in each of three grade spans; (3) include all students in those assessments; and (4) report the results of the regular and alternate science assessments on state and district report cards. My staff has reviewed the evidence submitted and determined that Nebraska has met the basic requirements for administering science assessments for 2007–08.

As you are aware, Nebraska entered into a Compliance Agreement with the Department, as authorized by Section 457 of the General Education Provisions Act, on October 8, 2008. That compliance agreement takes into account the fact that Nebraska’s new state law, LB 1157, requires Nebraska to develop a new statewide assessment system. The action plan that was developed in conjunction with the compliance agreement details the steps Nebraska intends to take to bring its statewide assessment system, including its science standards and assessments, into full compliance with the statutory and regulatory requirements of the ESEA. The Department expects that Nebraska will provide complete evidence of its science standards and assessments for peer review upon completion of the action steps related to the state’s science assessments.

The Department remains committed to working with Nebraska to help it meet the full requirements of NCLB. If you have any additional questions, would like to discuss this further, or wish to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to contact (Collette or ( of my staff.


Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.

cc: Governor Dave Heineman
Marilyn Peterson
Pat Roschewski