P-12

Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

Anticipated Changes to 2009-10 School Year AYP Determinations for the Students with Disabilities Subgroup


To: Superintendents of Schools and Charter School Principals
From: Ira Schwartz
Date: December 3, 2009
Subject: Anticipated Changes to 2009-10 School Year AYP Determinations for the Students with Disabilities Subgroup

This memorandum is to inform districts and charter schools of the anticipated 2009–10 school year changes to New York State’s method of determining adequate yearly progress (AYP) for the Students with Disabilities group in elementary/middle- and secondary-level English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.

The first change regards the expiration of flexibility that was made available to states by the United States Department of Education (USED) in December 2002.  This flexibility allowed states to make a statistical adjustment to the determination of AYP for the Students with Disabilities group in recognition that some students with disabilities, who are ineligible to participate in alternate assessments, are unable to demonstrate proficiency without access to an alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards.  This statistical flexibility was intended to provide time for states to develop this assessment.

Under this flexibility as implemented in New York State, a school or district could be given credit for making AYP if the only group that failed to achieve either the Effective Annual Measurable Objective or Safe Harbor was the Students with Disabilities group, the Students with Disabilities group met the 95 percent participation requirement, and the addition of 34 points to the Performance Index (PI) resulted in the group’s PI meeting or exceeding the Annual Measurable Objective.  This statistical adjustment was first applied to grade 4 and grade 8 English language arts (ELA) and math results in 2004-05, and subsequently, to grades 3-8 ELA and math results in the 2005-06 school year.  In the 2008–09 school year, this adjustment was, for the first time, also applied to high school ELA and math results.

The USED originally indicated that this flexibility would only be available for “a specified period of time.”  Subsequent USED regulations specified that this provision would sunset with the 2008–09 school year results.  In both the accountability power point PowerPoint file icon (371 KB) and the New York State Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual Word document icon (5.23 MB) posted on the State Education Department Website, the Department had advised the field that the sunset of this flexibility was anticipated.

NYSED has now been notified that USED will not act to extend this flexibility to the 2009–10 school year. even though the cost and complexity of developing an alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards, has proven much more challenging than originally anticipated and few states have yet been approved by USED to use such an assessment as part of their NCLB accountability systems.  In response to this determination, Commissioner David Steiner has written to the United States Department of Education asking that the timeline of the sunset of this flexibility be reconsidered and that New York be granted permission to continue to make this statistical adjustment for the 2009-2010 school year results.  However, as SED cannot presume that USED will act favorably upon this request, the Department must now work under the presumption that the flexibility will not be available in 2009–10 and must modify its method of determining AYP to reflect the termination of this flexibility.  Therefore, we urge school districts to review the performance of the students with disabilities subgroup at each school and determine which schools may need extra assistance to help them to make AYP with this group by either achieving the Effective Annual Measurable Objective or by achieving their Safe Harbor Target.

NYSED will act to help offset the impact of the loss of the statistical adjustment described above by requesting that USED allow New York State to include in the Students with Disabilities group, for a period of up to two AYP determination cycles, the scores of students who were previously classified as students with disabilities but who no longer receive special education services.  Currently, NYSED does not include students with disabilities who have been declassified when determining AYP for this accountability group.  Upon approval of this request by USED, the Board of Regents will be asked to amend Section 100.2(p)(1)(i) of Commissioner’s Regulations to apply this flexibility to the 2009–10 school years results.

NYSED staff will post updates on its website as information is available. Please contact Shibu Joseph with additional questions at sjoseph@mail.nysed.gov or (718) 722-8556.  We look forward to working with you to make this transition as smooth as possible.

cc: David Steiner
John King
Rebecca Cort
Alan Ray
David Abrams
Ken Wagner
Ray Kesper

View this memo in MS Word Word document icon (47 KB)

Last Updated: December 4, 2009