North Dakota Assessment Letter

April 26, 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:

Thank you for submitting North Dakota’s assessment materials for peer review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the latest peer review that occurred in January 2007.

Based on the recommendations of the peer reviewers and the evidence you have provided to date, the status of North Dakota’s standards and assessment system is Approval Expected. This status indicates that a State will administer an assessment system in grades 3-8 and high school in 2006-07 that the evidence to date suggests is fully compliant with the statutory and regulatory requirements. There are certain elements, however, that are not yet complete due to the nature of assessment development.

North Dakota must provide the Department with the complete evidence needed to satisfy the remaining requirements, as indicated in the enclosure to this letter, as soon as possible after administering its assessments for the 2006-07 school year. Please note that, because there are elements of North Dakota’s system that are not yet complete, a condition on North Dakota’s Title I, Part A grant award will continue until North Dakota submits the required evidence and receives full approval of its standards and assessment system.

The Department remains committed to working with North Dakota to meet the requirements of NCLB and to raising the performance of all children. Toward that end, let me reiterate my earlier offer of technical assistance to you. If you have any additional questions, would like to discuss this further, or want to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to call Grace Ross ( or Jeff Johnson ( of my staff.


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


cc: Governor John Hoeven
Greg Gallagher

Summary of Additional Evidence that North Dakota Must Submit to Meet ESEA requirements for the North Dakota Assessment System


  1. A plan and a timeline for studies of intended and unintended consequences.
  2. Documentation of an amended Test Coordinator’s Manual that includes procedures for accommodations and other memos and guidance given to districts.
  3. A plan and timeline to examine whether the use of accommodations yields meaningful scores.
  4. Evidence of the accuracy of teacher-provided ratings of the North Dakota Alternate Assessment.


  1. A plan for filling in the gaps by standard and criterion found by external alignment studies, including a timeline for item development and operational administration of new items.


  1. Documentation that reading the content of the reading test is not an allowable accommodation for limited English proficient (LEP) students.


  1. Documentation that performance descriptors appear on the score reports for parents and teachers.

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