Pennsylvania Science Assessment Letter
July 21, 2008
The Honorable Gerald L. Zahorchak
Secretary of Education
Pennsylvania Department of Education
333 Market Street
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17126
Dear Secretary Zahorchak:
Thank you for submitting evidence on Pennsylvania’s science assessment by April 21, 2008. We appreciate the work you did to prepare the required evidence.
As I noted in my letter on February 28, for the 2007-08 school year, each state was required to demonstrate that it satisfied the following basic requirements: (1) it has approved content standards in science; (2) it administered a general and alternate science assessment in each grade span (3-5, 6-9, and 10-12); (3) it included all students in one of the science assessments (i.e., either the general or the alternate); and (4) it reported the results of the general and alternate science assessments on state, district, and school report cards.
My staff has reviewed the evidence you submitted and determined that, based on the evidence submitted to date, it appears that Pennsylvania has met the basic requirements for administering science assessments in 2007-08. However, Pennsylvania has not yet submitted data to the Department demonstrating that all students were included in the science assessments or evidence that science results for the general and alternate assessments are included at the state and district level. Please let us know within 10 days of receipt of this letter when Pennsylvania will have those materials available so that we can confirm that Pennsylvania has, in fact, met the basic requirements for administering science assessments in 2007-08. States that do not provide the outstanding evidence to verify that they have met the four criteria for the 2007-08 school year have not met the basic requirements of the statute and will be subject to consequences, such as withholding of Title I, Part A administrative funds.
In 2008-09, Pennsylvania must submit complete evidence of its science standards and assessments for peer review. We have scheduled peer reviews for science standards and assessments for the weeks of October 25 through November 2, 2008, and March 23 through 27, 2009. Please plan accordingly. All materials for review must be provided to the Department three weeks before peer review is scheduled.
The Department remains committed to working with Pennsylvania to help it meet the full requirements of NCLB. If you have any questions, would like to discuss this further, or would like to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to contact Sue Rigney (Sue.Rigney@ed.gov) or Jessica Morffi (Jessica.Morffi@ed.gov) of my staff.
Kerri L. Briggs, Ph.D.
cc: Governor Ed Rendell