Statement of Intent to Create a Consortium Project

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					                        STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION – TOPIC SUMMARY
Topic: Multi-State Common Assessment Consortium – Grant Proposal
Date: May 20, 2010
Staff/Office: Tony Alpert, OAIS
Action Requested:      Informational Only Adoption Later     Adoption Adoption/Consent
     Agenda



ISSUE BEFORE THE BOARD: An overview of the move toward a national assessment in general
and the Smarter Balanced Consortium in particular and a review of Oregon’s role in the creation and
direction of this consortium.


BACKGROUND:
Over the past several months, the State Board has reviewed information and feedback related to the
Common Core State Standards Innitiative (CCSSI). Connected to the issue of common standards is the
idea of a common, or national, assessment. Oregon has served as one of the lead states in the creation
of the SMARTER consortium which recently merged with two other consoria (Balanced Assessment and
MOSAIC) to form the “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium” comprising a total of 32 states.

States involved with this Consortium will be asked to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (see
Appendix A). The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework of collaboration for the states in
supporting assessment of college- and career-ready standards and common achievement standards.
The MOU articulates the Consortium’s vision, goals, key deliverables, structure and operations, terms
and conditions. The MOU also outlines the differentiated roles that Member States may hold and the
rights and responsibilities associated with each role. All components of this MOU are consistent with the
Consortium’s Theory of Action. Higher education leadership in each state will also sign a letter of intent
aligning higher education requirements to this new common assessment (see Appendix B).

The Consortium’s priorities for a new generation assessment system are rooted in a concern for the
valid, reliable, and fair assessment of the deep disciplinary understanding and higher-order thinking skills
that are increasingly demanded by a knowledge-based economy. These priorities are also rooted in a
belief that assessment must support ongoing improvements in instruction and learning and must be
useful for all members of the educational enterprise: students, parents, teachers, school administrators,
members of the public, and policymakers.

The Consortium recognizes the need for a system of formative and summative assessments, organized
around Common Core standards, that support high-quality learning and the demands of accountability,
and that balance concerns for innovative assessment with the need for a fiscally sustainable system that
is feasible to implement. The efforts of the Consortium will be organized to accomplish these goals.


Goals for the Assessment System:

The SMARTER BALANCED Consortium intends to build a system of assessment upon the Common
Core Standards in English language arts and mathematics with the intent that all students across this
consortium of states will know their progress toward college and career readiness. These states believe
that the connection between the student, the teacher, and the curriculum, instruction and assessment is
the foundation for success for the Common Core Standards, and that working together collaboratively to
accomplish these tasks is critical.
The consortium is committed to the development of a system that is state led and will provide:
      Common summative tests in English language arts and Mathematics that assess student
       progress and mastery of core concepts and critical transferable skills using a range of formats:
       selected-response and constructed-response items, and performance tasks, designed together to
       assess the full range of standards.

      Formative assessment tools and supports, that are shaped around curriculum guidance which
       includes learning progressions, and that link evidence of student competencies to the summative
       system.

      Focused professional development around curriculum and lesson development as well as
       scoring and examination of student work

      Reporting systems that provide first-hand evidence of student performances, as well as
       aggregated scores by dimensions of learning, student characteristics, classrooms, schools, and
       districts.

      A governance structure that ensures a strong voice for state administrators, policy makers, school
       practitioners, and technical advisors to ensure an optimum balance of assessment quality,
       efficiency, costs, and time.


Priorities for Assessment:

As described below, the Consortium members have agreed to a set of principles that are consistent with
those used by educational systems of high-achieving nations and states. These include the following:

1) Assessments are grounded in a thoughtfully integrated learning system of standards,
curriculum, assessment, instruction, and teacher development. Teachers and other instructional experts
are involved in the process of developing formative and summative assessments grounded in the
learning standards. These guide professional learning about curriculum, teaching, and assessment.
Instructional supports are provided to enable thoughtful teaching. Thus, assessments are provided to
schools as part of a well-aligned system that guides and supports a coherent approach to students’ and
teachers’ learning.

2) Assessments include evidence of actual student performance on challenging tasks that evaluate
standards of 21st Century learning. The assessments will be strategically used to evaluate a broad array
of skills and competencies and inform progress toward and acquisition of readiness for higher education
and multiple work domains. They emphasize deep knowledge of core concepts within and across the
disciplines, problem solving, analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking.

3) Teachers are integrally involved in the design, development and scoring of assessment items
and tasks. Teachers will participate in the alignment and unpacking of the Common Core Standards
and the identification of the standards in the local curriculum. The Consortium will involve teachers in
formative and summative assessment development and support moderation of scoring processes to
ensure consistency and to enable teachers to deeply understand the standards and to develop stronger
curriculum, instruction, and classroom assessment. Assessment literate teachers 1) who have gotten
“inside” the Common Core standards, 2) who have taught to the standards, 3) who have learned how to
appropriately measure the standards, and 4) who have learned strategies to intervene if students have
not measured the standards, will be teachers whose students are learning. Teachers’ roles include the
construction and review of items/tasks, the definition of scoring guides, selection of student work
exemplars, and scoring.


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4) Technology is designed to support assessment and learning systems. Technology is used to
enhance these assessments in a number of ways, by: delivering the assessments; enabling adaptive
technologies to better measure student abilities across the full spectrum of student performance and
evaluate growth in learning; supporting on-line simulation tasks that test higher-order abilities, allowing
students to search for information or manipulate variables and tracking information about the students’
problem-solving processes; and, in some cases, scoring the results or delivering the responses to trained
scorers / teachers to access from an electronic platform. Such a platform can support training and
calibration of scorers and moderation of scores, as well as the efficient aggregation of results in ways
that support reporting and research about the responses.

5) Assessments are structured to continuously improve teaching and learning. Assessment as, of,
and for learning is designed to develop understanding of what learning standards are, what high-quality
work looks like, and what is needed for student learning. It is also designed to foster instruction that
supports transferable knowledge and skills.


Design Flexibility

The Consortium will develop a common summative assessment that will provide comparable results
across all of the participating states. Consortium states will use commonly determined performance
standards that are internationally benchmarked.

In addition, some states will work on pushing the edge of the envelope with respect to more ambitious
performance assessments – which may be used in common by one or more sub-consortia of states –
and, in the same way, others will undertake more ambitious work with respect to computer adaptive
testing and simulations. This design allows the Consortium to create at one time, a new summative
assessment used by a large number of states within the five-year horizon of the federal grant, and to
create even more leading-edge assessment components used by sub-consortia of states who decide to
offer augmented assessments. Common use of these augmented assessments across subsets of states
would result in comparable results for those components across those states, without disrupting the
existence of a leaner, common summative assessment across all the states in the Consortium.


Next Steps
In order for Oregon to be involved in this Consortium and help shape the direction of the common
assessment, the State Board Chair, Governor, and State Superintendent will need to sign the MOU.


POLICY QUESTIONS:
     Will Oregon adopt the Common Core State Standards?
     Will Oregon continue to play an active leadership role in the Smarter Balanced
      Consortium?
     What elements are critical to include in a common assessment?


STAFF RECOMMENDATION:
Staff recommends Board endorsement for this work. The Board Chair will be asked to sign the MOU by
early June to ensure this work can move forward.




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Appendix A: DRAFT State Memorandum of Understanding


                                  Memorandum of Understanding

                                  SMARTER Balanced Consortium

                           Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program



This Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) is entered as of ___________, 2010 by and between the
SMARTER Balanced Consortium (the “Consortium”) and _______, ________, _________, and
_________ [insert names of all states in the Consortium] (each, a “State” or “Member State”), pursuant to
the Notice Inviting Applications for the Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program (the “Program”).
The purpose of this MOU is to establish a framework of collaboration for the States in supporting
assessment of college- and career-ready standards and common achievement standards. The MOU
articulates the Consortium’s vision, goals, key deliverables, structure and operations, terms and
conditions. The MOU also outlines the differentiated roles that Member States may hold and the rights
and responsibilities associated with each role. All components of this MOU are consistent with the
Consortium’s Theory of Action.

A. Consortium Vision
The Consortium’s priorities for a new generation assessment system are rooted in a concern for the
valid, reliable, and fair assessment of the deep disciplinary understanding and higher-order thinking skills
that are increasingly demanded by a knowledge-based economy. These priorities are also rooted in a
belief that assessment must support ongoing improvements in instruction and learning, and must be
useful for all members of the educational enterprise: students, parents, teachers, school administrators,
members of the public, and policymakers.

The Consortium intends to build a system of assessment upon the Common Core Standards in English
language arts and mathematics with the intent that all students across this Consortium of States will
know their progress toward college and career readiness.

The Consortium recognizes the need for a system of formative, interim and summative assessments,
organized around Common Core standards, that support high-quality learning and the demands of
accountability, and that balance concerns for innovative assessment with the need for a fiscally
sustainable system that is feasible to implement. The efforts of the Consortium will be organized to
accomplish these goals.

The comprehensive assessment system developed by the Consortium will include the following key
elements:
   •  A variety of item types will be used to measure the full range of Common Core Standards,
      including those that address higher-order cognitive skills and abilities;

  •    A plan to scale up over time to incorporate curriculum-embedded performance and complex
       computer based simulations;

  •    A sophistic design that can yield scores that support evaluations of student growth, as well as
       school, teacher, and principal effectiveness in the most efficient manner practicable



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  •    Online adaptive solutions for summative and interim assessments to provide assessments that
       meet the needs of all students;

  •    A systematic solution to informed decision-making by including formative strategies,
       benchmark/interim assessments, and summative assessments;

  •    High quality curriculum and instructional supports for teachers ;

  •    Inclusion of teachers in design, development and implementation of the system;

  •    Adherence to professional standards for assessment;

  •    Principles of universal design in the design and development process for all students; and

  •    Optional components that the States can use based on their needs.


B. Principles
The Consortium members have agreed to a set of principles that are consistent with those used by
educational systems of high-achieving nations and states. These include the following:

   1) Assessments are grounded in a thoughtfully integrated learning system of standards, curriculum,
      assessment, instruction, and teacher development. Teachers and other instructional experts are
      involved in the process of developing formative and summative assessments grounded in the
      learning standards. These guide professional learning about curriculum, teaching, and
      assessment. Instructional supports are provided to enable thoughtful teaching. Thus,
      assessments are provided to schools as part of a well-aligned system that guides and supports a
      coherent approach to students’ and teachers’ learning.

   2) Assessments include evidence of actual student performance on challenging tasks that evaluate
      standards of 21st Century learning. The assessments will be strategically used to evaluate a
      broad array of skills and competencies and inform progress toward and acquisition of readiness
      for higher education and multiple work domains. They emphasize deep knowledge of core
      concepts within and across the disciplines, problem solving, analysis, synthesis, and critical
      thinking.

   3) Teachers are integrally involved in the design, development and scoring of assessment items and
      tasks. Teachers will participate in the alignment of the Common Core Standards and the
      identification of the standards in the local curriculum. The Consortium will involve teachers in
      formative and summative assessment development and support moderation of scoring
      processes. This will ensure consistency and enable teachers to deeply understand the standards
      and to develop stronger curriculum, instruction, and classroom assessment. Assessment literate
      teachers who have 1) gotten “inside” the Common Core standards, 2) taught to the standards, 3)
      learned how to appropriately measure the standards, and 4) learned strategies to intervene if
      students have not mastered the standards, will be teachers whose students are learning what we
      want them to learn. Teachers’ roles include the construction and review of items/tasks, the
      definition of scoring guides, selection of student work exemplars, and scoring.

   4) Technology is designed to support assessment and learning systems. Technology is used to
      enhance these assessments in a number of ways, by: delivering the assessments; enabling
      adaptive technologies to better measure student abilities across the full spectrum of student
      performance and evaluate growth in learning; supporting on-line simulation tasks that test higher-
      order abilities, allowing students to search for information or manipulate variables and tracking
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       information about the students’ problem-solving processes; and, in some cases, scoring the
       results or delivering the responses to trained scorers / teachers to access from an electronic
       platform. Such a platform can support training and calibration of scorers and moderation of
       scores, as well as the efficient aggregation of results in ways that support reporting and research
       about the responses.

   5) Assessments are structured to continuously improve teaching and learning. Assessment as, of,
      and for learning is designed to develop understanding of what learning standards are, what high-
      quality work looks like, and what is needed for student learning. It is also designed to foster
      instruction that supports transferable knowledge and skills. These outcomes are enabled by
      several features of the assessment system:

          The use of school-based, curriculum-embedded assessments provides teachers with models
           of good curriculum and assessment practice, enhances curriculum equity within and across
           schools, and allows teachers to see and evaluate student learning in ways that can feed back
           into instructional and curriculum decisions.

          Close examination of student work and moderated teacher scoring are sources of ongoing
           professional development that improve teaching.

          Developing both on-demand and curriculum-embedded assessments around learning
           progressions allows teachers to see where students are on multiple dimensions of learning
           and to strategically support their progress.


Each State agrees to the following elements of the Consortium’s Assessment System:
      To adopt a common set of college- and career-ready standards, no later than December 31,
       2011.

      To implement the Operational Assessment, which includes the following requirements:

           o   Score the assessment using the specifications to be adopted by the Consortium by June
               30, 2014.

           o   Determine if a student is college and career ready or on-track to college and career ready
               based on the achievement standards adopted by the Consortium by August 30, 2014.

           o   In accordance with the most current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),
               administer the assessments to all eligible students enrolled in public school using
               proctoring protocols and accommodations to be determined by the Consortium by October
               1, 2013.

           o   In accordance with the most current Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA),
               use the operational assessment as the measures of mathematics and English/Language
               Arts included in Title I accountability designations.

           o   By June 30, 2015, implement the assessment consistent with the proposal to be
               submitted to the U.S. Department of Education or as otherwise amended based on the
               work of the Consortium and approved by the Consortium governing board.


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          o   Additional states may join the Consortium through written notice to the Consortium Project
              Management Partner (PMP). The PMP will be identified no later than November 1st,
              2010.



C. Responsibilities of the Consortium

The Consortium will provide:
    A comprehensive assessment design that includes a strategic use of a variety of item types and
      performance assessments of modest scope to assess the full breadth and depth of the common
      core with an emphasis on problem solving, analysis, synthesis, and critical thinking.

      The assessment design will incorporate a required summative assessment and optional
       formative/benchmark components.

      Except as described above, the summative assessment will be administered as a computer
       adaptive assessment and include a minimum of 1-2 performance assessments of modest scope.

      Detailed psychometrically sound scaling and equating procedures based on a combination of
       objectively scored items, constructed response items and a modest number of performance tasks
       of limited scope (e.g. no more than a few days to complete).

      Achievement standards and achievement level descriptors that are internationally benchmarked.

      Access for the State or its authorized delegate to a Microsoft SQL server based item-banking
       application, a secure item and task bank that includes psychometric attributes required to score
       the assessment in a comparable manner with other Member States.

      The system will be developed for online administration but will provide limited support for
       paper/pencil through the end of the 2016-17. States using the paper assessment option will be
       responsible for any unique costs associated with the development and administration of the
       paper-and-pencil assessments.

      Formative assessment tools and supports, that are shaped around curriculum guidance which
       includes learning progressions, and that link evidence of student competencies to the summative
       system.

      Focused professional development around curriculum and lesson development as well as scoring
       and examination of student work.

      Representative governance structure that ensures a strong voice for State administrators, policy
       makers, school practitioners, and technical advisors to ensure an optimum balance of
       assessment quality, efficiency, costs, and time. The governance body will be responsible for
       implementing plans that are consistent with this MOU, but may make changes as necessary
       through a formal adoption process.

      Through at least 2014-15, a project manager partner (PMP) that will manage the logistics and
       planning on behalf of the Consortium and ensure the deliverables of the proposal to the U.S.


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       Department of Education are completed. The PMP will be identified no later than November 1st,
       2010.

      By 2014-15 a financial plan that ensures the Consortium is efficient effective and sustainable.
       The plan will include as revenue at a minimum, State contributions, federal grants, and private
       donations and fees to non-State members as allowable by the U.S. Department of Education.

      A consolidated Reporting system.

      By 2014-15 Access to an online test administration application, student constructed response
       scoring application and secure test administration browsers that can be used by Member States
       to administer the assessment. The Consortium will procure resources necessary to develop and
       field test the system. However, Member States will be responsible for any hardware and vendor
       services necessary to implement the operational assessment. Based on a review of options and
       the finance plan, the Consortium may elect to jointly procure these services on behalf of Member
       States.



[NEW GOVERNANCE STRUCTURE TO BE ADDED BY 5/14]

D. Process and Timeline for Agreement to Key Policies and Definitions


Policy or Definition to be Adopted             Approx Date to Initiate             Date to Adopt
Common set of performance level                    April 20, 2010                December 31, 2011
descriptors
Common set of achievement standards                 April 20, 2010             2014-2015 School Year
Common assessment administration
procedures
Common item release policy
Common test security policy
Common definition of “English learner”
Common policies and procedures for
accommodations for English learners
Common policies and procedures for
accommodations for students with
disabilities
Common policies and procedures for
student participation for English learners
Common policies and procedures for
student participation for students with
disabilities
Other (explain)


E. Management of Funds

   [TO BE COMPLETED BY 5/14]



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F. Governance Structure

Each State agrees that there is consistency between the terms and conditions of the Consortium’s
governance structure and such State’s role in the Consortium.


G. Plan for Existing Barriers

Each State agrees to identify existing barriers in State Laws, Statutes, Regulations or Policies and notify
the Consortium in writing within ten (10) working days of signing the MOU. Should any State identify or
discover any barriers that would prevent such State from performing the roles and/or responsibilities
required hereunder, such State shall fully cooperate with the direction of the Consortium or its designees
to resolve these barriers.
[TEMPLATE AND EXAMPLES FOR “STATE BARRIERS” TO BE PROVIDED BY 5/14]


H. Other Representations by Each State

Each State hereby commits to be bound to every statement and assurance made in the Consortium’s
application to the Program. Each State represents that it has reviewed its applicable procurement rules
and determined that it may participate in and make procurements through the Consortium.


I.   Miscellaneous

This MOU shall become effective as of the date first written above upon signature by both the
Consortium, on the one hand, and all Member States, on the other hand, and remain in force until the
conclusion of the Program, unless terminated earlier in writing by the Consortium as set forth herein.
This MOU may be terminated without cause by the Consortium immediately upon written notice to all
Member States. This MOU may be signed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall constitute an
original and all of which, when taken together, shall constitute one MOU.


                                [remainder of page intentionally left blank]




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DRAFT 5/10/10
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this MOU effective the day and year first written
above.

CONSORTIUM
__________________________________________               ______________________
Authorized Signatory                                     Date




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[State #1]

__________________________________________   _____________________
Governor                                     Date

__________________________________________   _____________________
State School Board President                 Date

__________________________________________   ______________________
State Chief School Officer                   Date




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Appendix B: DRAFT Higher Ed Letter of Intent


                                  SMARTER Balanced Consortium
                                           Letter of Intent
                         Participation by Institution of Higher Education in
                  Balanced Assessment Design, Development and Implementation


This Letter of Intent is entered as of ___________, 2010 by and between the SMARTER Balanced Consortium
(the “Consortium”) and _____________________________ [insert name of institution of higher education or
institution of higher education system] (the “IHE” or the “IHE system”), pursuant to the Notice Inviting
Applications for the Race to the Top Fund Assessment Program. The purposes of this Letter of Intent are to:

1. Establish a framework of collaboration between the IHE or IHE system and the State in which the IHE or IHE
system is located, in supporting assessment of college- and career-ready standards, common achievement
standards (college ready benchmarks) and better alignment between public elementary, secondary, and
postsecondary education systems;

2. Commit the IHE or the IHE system to participate with the Consortium in the design and development of the
Consortium’s final high school summative assessments in mathematics and English language arts in order to
ensure that the assessments measure college readiness;

3. Commit the IHE or the IHE system to implement policies, once the final high school summative assessments
are implemented, that exempt from remedial courses and place into credit-bearing college courses any student
who meets the Consortium-adopted achievement standard for each assessment and any other placement
requirement established by the IHE or the IHE system; and

4. Provide the total number of direct matriculation students (students who entered college as a freshman within
two years of graduating from high school) in the IHE or the IHE system in the 2008-2009 school year.


Consortium Vision

The Consortium’s priorities for a new generation assessment system are rooted in a concern for the valid,
reliable, and fair assessment of the deep disciplinary understanding and higher-order thinking skills that are
increasingly demanded by a knowledge-based economy. These priorities are also rooted in a belief that
assessment must support ongoing improvements in instruction and learning, and must be useful for all
members of the educational enterprise: students, parents, teachers, school administrators, members of the
public, and policymakers.

The Consortium intends to build a system of assessment upon the Common Core Standards in English
language arts and mathematics with the intent that all students across this Consortium of States will know their
progress toward college and career readiness.

The Consortium recognizes the need for a system of formative, interim and summative assessments,
organized around Common Core standards, that support high-quality learning and the demands of
accountability, and that balance concerns for innovative assessment with the need for a fiscally sustainable
system that is feasible to implement. The efforts of the Consortium will be organized to accomplish these
goals.




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Principles

By signing this Letter of Intent, the IHE or IHE system agrees to the following:

1. To collaborate with the State in which the IHE or IHE system is located in supporting assessment of college-
and career ready standards and common achievement standards (college ready benchmarks).

2. To participate with the Consortium in the design and development of the Consortium’s final high school
summative assessments in mathematics and English language arts in order to ensure that the assessments
measure college readiness ;

3. To implement policies, once the final high school summative assessments are implemented, that exempt
from remedial courses and place into credit-bearing college courses any student who meets the Consortium-
adopted achievement standard for each assessment and any other placement requirement established by the
IHE or IHE system; and

4. To have the higher education officer of the State in which the IHE or IHE system is located sign this Letter of
Intent.


Number of Direct Matriculation Students

The total number of direct matriculation students (students who entered college as a freshman within two years
of graduating from high school) in the IHE or IHE system in the 2008-2009 school year was: ________.


Consortium Structure and Operations
[FINAL MOU - TO BE ADDED BY 5/17]


Method and Process for Decision-Making

The IHE or IHE system agrees to the decision-making process and methods (e.g., policy, operational) of the
Consortium as identified below:

[FINAL MOU - TO BE ADDED BY 5/17]


Exiting Consortium
[FINAL MOU - TO BE ADDED BY 5/17]


Miscellaneous

This Letter of Intent shall become effective as of the date first written above upon signature by both the IHE
and the Consortium, and remain in force until the conclusion of the Race to the Top Fund Assessment
Program, unless terminated earlier in writing by the Consortium as set forth herein. This Letter of Intent may be
terminated without cause by the Consortium immediately upon written notice to the IHE or IHE system. This
Letter of Intent may be signed in one or more counterparts, each of which shall constitute an original and all of
which, when taken together, shall constitute one Letter of Intent.




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IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties hereto have executed this Letter
of Intent effective the day and year first written above.


IHE or IHE SYSTEM

By:______________________________________

Name:___________________________________

Title:_____________________________________

Date: _____________________________________


SMARTER BALANCED CONSORTIUM

By:______________________________________

Name:___________________________________

Title:_____________________________________

Date: _____________________________________


STATE OF IHE or IHE SYSTEM
By:_______________________________________

Name:_____________________________________

Title:_______________________________________

Higher Education Executive Officer: ______________

State: _____________________________________

Date: _____________________________________




DRAFT 5/10/10                                                      14

				
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