The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) is one of nine states receiving approval from the United States Department of Education (USDOE) to be a part of the Differentiated Accountability Pilot. According to the USDOE, “This pilot is aimed at helping states develop a more nuanced system of accountability to distinguish between underperforming schools in need of dramatic interventions and those that are closer to meeting the goals of 'No Child Left Behind.” Arkansas’ approved Differentiated Accountability Model, Smart Accountability, is being granted under section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB).
Smart Accountability will allow the ADE to identify schools more appropriately, so that the schools that fail to make adequate yearly progress (ayp) because of low scores among one or two subgroups will be placed into “targeted” improvement categories, while the schools dealing with low scores system-wide will be placed into “whole school” improvement categories. Arkansas’ Smart Accountability will be a four year agreement with the USDOE.
As a requirement to participate in the pilot, ADE must provide all interested Local Education Agencies (LEAs) in the state with notice and an opportunity to comment on this flexibility agreement (see attached). All comments received by ADE will then be submitted to the USDOE according to ESEA Section 9401(b)(3)(A)(ii).
All comments must be submitted in writing by February 20, 2009, to Dee Cox at Four Capitol Mall, Room 305-B, Little Rock, AR 72201.