ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : COM-07-019

Date Created : 08/08/2006


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Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Yes
Section:   Communications - Julie Thompson, Director
LEP Assessment Change

Regulatory Authority:

Contact Person:
Julie Johnson Thompson

Phone Number:


As was announced on July 31, 2006, at the Arkansas Association of Educational Administrators (AAEA) summer convention, Arkansas will no longer assess Limited English Proficient (LEP) students with the portfolio. Instead, LEP students will be required to take Benchmark exams with accommodations.

This difficult decision was reached after several conversations between the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) and the the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) concerning the necessary steps to achieve approval of Arkansas' assessment system. USDOE notified Arkansas in late June that the State's assessment system had been classified as "approval pending," with the main hindrance being the lack of comparability between the the LEP portfolios and the regular Benchmarks. The State's assessment system must earn full approval by the end of the 2006-2007 school year or the State could face financial penalties. USDOE made clear that approval was unlikely if Arkansas continued use of the portfolio system to assess LEP students.

Arkansas has been invited to join a partnership with USDOE to learn how to better incorporate appropriate accommodations into the testing process and into daily classroom activities from experts in this area. To that end, ADE will send a team to the initial partnership meeting in Washington, D.C., in late August 2006.

Under No Child Left Behind (NCLB), LEP students are not required to take the literacy Benchmarks the first year in school. Though these students are required to take the mathematics Benchmarks the first year, those scores do not count in the schools' Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) calculations. Both scores begin counting for AYP purposes the second year.


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