MDE to submit ESEA waiver request for Corinth School District; public comments due Feb. 1

On behalf of the Corinth School District, the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is submitting a waiver request to the United States Department of Education (USED) to request that Corinth be allowed to use a locally selected, nationally recognized high school assessment (LSNRHSA) in lieu of the approved state assessment, Mississippi Academic Assessment Program (MAAP). The department is specifically requesting a waiver of ESEA section 1111(b)(2)(H) and 34 CFR 200.3(b)(2)(ii) for the 2021-2022 academic year for Corinth, as the MDE works to fulfill requirements for peer review under ESEA section 1111(a)(4) for the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) assessments.

As part of the waiver request, provided for in section 8401 of ESEA, the MDE must make the request available for public comment and submit those comments to the USED.  Public comments regarding the aforementioned waiver request should be submitted via email to no later than 5 p.m., Feb. 1.  For any questions regarding this waiver request, please contact Alan Burrow at

The MDE is fully complying with the requirements for the state to approve a LSNRHSA as provided for in section 1111(b)(2)(H) of ESEA, which allows a local education agency (LEA) to administer a locally selected assessment in lieu of the state test in high school if approved.  In brief, that process requires the state to establish and use technical criteria to determine if the proposed assessment is aligned, sufficiently rigorous, and meets all general requirements that apply to state assessments.  The MDE empaneled an independent national technical advisory committee (TAC) in 2019 to establish criteria in accordance with these provisions and is working closely with Corinth and the test developer, Cambridge, to ensure these requirements are addressed.  The process was suspended during pandemic disruptions but has resumed this year and is on pace to provide its recommendations to the MDE in the spring of 2022. If the TAC’s recommendations are favorable, and MDE accepts those recommendations, the MDE will communicate these findings with supporting evidence to the USED in September 2022 following administration and reporting of the Cambridge IGCSE in the June 2022 Cambridge series in lieu of the MAAP.

The Cambridge Pathway for K-12 is an integral component of the Corinth instructional program and has been well documented within the MDE-approved District of Innovation application, Forward First, supporting updates to Section 1112 of their LEA plan. If the MDE is granted this waiver request, student performance for students participating in the LSNRHSA in Corinth will be reported in the same manner as the MAAP assessment in accordance with Section 1111(h) following the June 2022 series administration and scoring. The reporting will also include performance on the LSNRHSA for each subgroup of high school students produced by the statewide assessment at each academic achievement level, as well as reporting information for parents and students aligned to the approved state assessment system, MAAP.