September 14, 2012 – New Hampshire Assessment Letter

Date: September 14, 2012

The Honorable Virginia Barry
Commissioner of Education
New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301-3494

Dear Commissioner Barry:

I am pleased to approve New Hampshire’s standards and assessment system under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended. I congratulate you on this significant accomplishment.

My decision is based on input from peer reviewers external to the U.S. Department of Education (Department) and Department staff who reviewed and carefully considered the evidence submitted by New Hampshire in June 2012 regarding the New Hampshire Alternate Learning Progressions (NH-ALP) assessment. I have concluded that the evidence provided demonstrates that New Hampshire’s Alternate Learning Progressions assessment satisfies the statutory and regulatory requirements under section 1111(b)(1) and (3) of the ESEA. As a result, New Hampshire’s standards and assessment system now includes academic content and student academic achievement standards in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science; alternate academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in those subjects; general assessments in reading/language arts and mathematics in grades 3 through 8 and one grade in high school; general science assessments for each of the three required grade spans (grades 3-5, 6-9, and 10-12); and alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards in the corresponding grades in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. I have enclosed detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated the New Hampshire submission for your information. Please note that following discussion of the peer notes, the New Hampshire assessment staff provided additional information that satisfied the concerns expressed in that document.

Accordingly, New Hampshire’s standards and assessment system warrants Full Approval with Recommendations. This status means that, although New Hampshire’s standards and assessment system meets all statutory and regulatory requirements, it could be strengthened in certain respects. In particular, we recommend that New Hampshire complete the activities that it proposed to collect additional validity data regarding the NH-ALP and use that information to support test administration and scoring procedures. Continued evaluation of the NH-ALP can strengthen confidence in the effectiveness of this assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

As you know, New Hampshire entered into a compliance agreement with the Department on September 18, 2008, due to outstanding issues related to its alternate assessments based on alternate academic achievement standards. This agreement expired on September 18, 2011. New Hampshire has since resolved the issues that resulted in the compliance agreement and, as noted above, now has a fully approved standards and assessment system. Accordingly, New Hampshire has fulfilled all obligations under the compliance agreement.

Please be aware that approval of New Hampshire’s standards and assessment system under the ESEA is not a determination that the system complies with Federal civil rights requirements, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and requirements under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Finally, please remember that, if New Hampshire makes significant changes to its standards and assessment system, New Hampshire must submit information about those changes to the Department for review and approval.

We have found it a pleasure working with your assessment staff on this review. Please accept my congratulations for New Hampshire’s approved standards and assessment system in reading/language arts, mathematics, and science. I wish you well in your continued efforts to improve student achievement in New Hampshire. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact or by calling (202) 260-0931.



Deborah S. Delisle
Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education


cc: Governor John Lynch

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