The Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) Rules Governing Public School End-of-Course Assessments and Remediation (Rules) were given final approval by the State Board of Education on October 12, 2009. It is anticipated that the Rules will become effective by the end of November, after receiving Legislative review. Act 1307 of 2009 mandates the administration of high-stakes end-of-course assessments in Algebra I and English II; the Rules implement the requirements of the Act. Beginning this school year, all students in grade 9 or below who are enrolled in Algebra I must pass the Algebra I End-of-Course Examination in order to receive an academic credit toward graduation. Beginning with the 2013-2014 school year, students who are enrolled in English II must pass the End-of-Course Examination for English II in order to receive an academic credit toward graduation. Any student identified as not passing an initial high-stakes assessment shall be remediated through an Individualized Academic Improvement Plan (IAIP) and will have two additional retest opportunities in order to pass the assessment. If a student does not pass the Algebra I End-of-Course Examination after being administered three tests, then the student shall successfully complete a formative or strand analysis program as determined by the ADE in order to receive an academic credit toward graduation.
Under these Rules, schools bear the responsibility for ensuring that students in Algebra I receive academic instruction and support in Algebra I and English II that aligns to the Arkansas Curriculum Framework. It is recommended that school districts keep documentation that reflects student instruction aligned to the Arkansas Curriculum Framework. Documentation might include lesson plans, curriculum guides, portfolios, samples of student work and classroom assessments.
Schools are also responsible for ensuring that students who do not pass a high stakes end-of-course examination receive academic support and remediation outlined in the student's IAIP. The IAIP shall be constructed by the teachers and other school personnel familiar with the abilities of the student and in consultation with the parents or guardians of the student. Schools shall provide the IAIPs in an electronic format of a type specified by the ADE and at a site specified by the ADE. More information regarding the format of the IAIP will be forthcoming. A public school should provide frequent monitoring of the studentís progress in meeting the desired levels of performance and should notify students, parents, guardians, or caregivers of remediation requirements and consequences for failure to participate in remediation, as required in the Rules Governing the Arkansas Comprehensive Testing, Assessment, and Accountability Program (October 9, 2006).
Schools should have in place a plan of action to ensure that all stakeholders are informed of the guidelines contained in these Rules. It is recommended that schools notify parents, guardians, and students through written and oral communication concerning the implications of these Rules, as well as amend student handbooks to reflect the guidelines contained within these Rules.