The Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is seeking public comment on its request for a waiver extension of 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(2), which limits the total number of students assessed in a subject area using an alternate assessment to no more than 1% of the total number of students assessed in the State.
According to 34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4), “If a State anticipates that it will exceed the cap under paragraph (c)(2) of this section with respect to any subject for which assessments are administered under § 200.2(a)(1) in any school year, the State may request that the Secretary [of Education] waive the cap for the relevant subject, pursuant to section 8401 of the Act, for one year.”
Arkansas, based on historical data, anticipates that approximately 1.3% of students assessed will be assessed using the alternate assessment. Since this exceeds the 1% limit, Arkansas must request a waiver to the 1% threshold for one year (34 C.F.R. §200.6(c)(4)).
DESE plans to submit the waiver extension request to the U.S. Department of Education in the areas of English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science. The waiver extension request states that DESE will gather data on the characteristics of students participating in the alternate assessment to provide a standard for determining whether students who are participating have the most significant cognitive disabilities, the only population of students who should take the alternate assessment. In addition, the waiver extension request states that DESE will collect and analyze alternate assessment data, require justification from districts that exceed the 1% threshold, and address any disproportionality in student groups taking the alternate assessment.
The proposed waiver extension request will be available for review until Friday, October 18, 2019, on the DESE Special Education Unit website under Curriculum and Assessment/Assessment (tinyurl.com/ADEspedassessment). Paper copies of the waiver request may be viewed at:
DESE Special Education Unit
1401 W. Capitol, Suite 450
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Any individual or organization may submit written comments on the proposed waiver pursuant to 34 C.F.R.§200.6(c)(4). Written comments will be accepted until Friday, October 18, 2019.