On behalf of the Arizona Department of Education (ADE) and the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE), Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman and President of the State Board of Education Lucas J. Narducci sent a letter to district superintendents and charter leaders regarding the future of statewide assessments. The letter was in response to a communication from the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) that stated Arizona law was at odds with current federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) law regarding assessment.
In December 2018, ADE made a request to US ED asking to waive certain federal requirements as they pertain to the Menu of Assessments state law (A.R.S. 15-741.02) that passed in 2016, which required Arizona to offer a Menu of Assessments to allow schools to administer an alternate assessment instead of the statewide assessment (i.e. AzMERIT). This was designed to be phased in over a set timeframe, beginning with high school in Spring 2019 and for grades 3-8 in Spring 2020.
Last week, ADE received notification from US ED that this waiver request was denied. Since that time, ADE and SBE officials have collaborated with education stakeholders throughout the state to communicate the effects this will have on schools, as well as to work toward solutions regarding the future of statewide assessments.
Please see the letters below from Superintendent Hoffman and President Narducci to Arizona schools, as well as the letter from US ED to ADE:
US ED Letter to ADE | ADE and SBE Letter to Schools
The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) today launched the state’s School Report Cards website, an education resource created to assist the public learn more about schools throughout the state. The website serves as an accountability platform, lists the A-F letter grades for schools, provides all federal and state reports and catalogs other individualized school details in one convenient location.
“I am very proud of both our Accountability and IT departments for developing another wonderful tool that helps parents find the best education for their children,” Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Douglas said. “I am thrilled that parents will have all of this information at their fingertips, allowing them to make the most informed decision about schools for their children. As a vocal proponent of school choice, as well as someone who does not believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to education, this gives parents the ability to see what opportunities are available for their child’s specific needs.”
Stakeholder groups from around the state all weighed in on how to best develop the new website. Parents, teachers, administrators and policymakers throughout Arizona participated in ADE focus groups over the past year.
Since this is just the first version of the new website, a section for Early Childhood and preschool will be forthcoming, as will a school “highlights” section. The much-awaited “highlights” section will provide schools with the opportunity to distinguish themselves from one another by promoting exceptional features and attributes unique to their specific school or district.
In addition, the School Report Cards website also fulfills the federal requirement of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to “include a clear and concise description of the State accountability system.” Sixteen basic requirements for the report card have now been met before the January 1, 2019 deadline for ESSA compliance.
To learn more about Arizona schools or to check out the new website, log on to https://azreportcards.azed.gov/.