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Monday, September 18, 2006

NEBRASKA WINS FEDERAL OK ON ASSESSMENT SYSTEM, NO FINE

This is really good news for Nebraska. -Angela

NEBRASKA WINS FEDERAL OK ON ASSESSMENT SYSTEM, NO FINE

Nebraska was notified today by the U.S. Department of Education that it has reversed its earlier decision. The Nebraska assessment system has moved into an “approval” status.

“While we still have work to do with two more steps to complete, our system has been validated as we knew it should have been from the beginning,” Nebraska Education Commissioner Doug Christensen said Friday after talking to U.S.D.E. officials by telephone. “We expect to complete all the requirements by the end of the school year for the highest level of approval. We are pleased that all penalties and fines announced earlier have been removed so no money will be withheld and no penalties applied.”

“We can now get on with fully implementing our system,” Christensen said, “which includes completing the review of local school district assessments during this school year and, once we know what is required, assessing our students who are learning English for the first time in school.”

“The U.S.D.E. decision today was consistent with what the Nebraska Department of Education had said all along,” Christensen said. “The confusion has ended. This whole issue revolved around meeting timelines, not about our local assessment system.”

The review of local assessments will begin in October.

“We are pleased that U.S.D.E. officials were impressed with the process we designed for the review of local assessments,” said Pat Roschewski, state assessment administrator.

Nebraska educators as well as national assessment experts will visit all 254 school districts this year to review how schools assess students on state reading and mathematic standards. The results of those reviews will help districts assess student learning and also meet U.S.D.E. documentation requirements.

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