South Carolina last week became the first state to gain final approval from the U.S. Department of Education for its student assessments under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
The federal law requires that all states have a panel of testing experts provide peer reviews of the assessments, looking at, among other things, evidence for the technical quality of the tests and their alignment with states’ academic standards.
Inez Tenenbaum, South Carolina’s elected state schools superintendent and a Democrat, announced the federal approval on Feb. 15. U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education Henry L. Johnson sent word of the federal agency’s “full approval” in a Feb. 15 letter to Ms. Tenenbaum. A federal official confirmed South Carolina’s status as the first state to receive such approval.
The approval included recommendations for ways South Carolina can improve its assessment system, especially for students in special education or who are learning English. The state is including the recommendations in its planning, Ms. Tenenbaum said in a statement.
A version of this article appeared in the February 22, 2006 edition of Education Week