48 states and the District of Columbia have committed to measuring and reporting individual student growth under ESSA. This means everyone in those states – from parents to policymakers – will have more information than before on student performance and school quality. This brief explores the different ways states have committed to measuring student growth and what that means for education stakeholders and their understanding of student success.
Under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states had to choose at least one measure of school quality or student success—something beyond test scores. According to an analysis by Education Strategy Group in collaboration with Advance CTE and Achieve, a total of 44 states are looking at college and/or career readiness somewhere in their accountability systems, whether for ESSA or under state systems for rating schools. 36 states are measuring college readiness through coursework for federal accountability, and 12 states measure college readiness through work-based learning or leadership experience. In another analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education, 21 states consider whether students have earned industry credentials.
The U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Evaluation (NCEE) is looking for proposals from vendors to complete an evaluation for two programs authorized under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — the Innovative Assessment and Accountability Authority (IADA) and the Flexibility for Equitable Per-Pupil Funding. The evaluations will be focusing on describing implementations in pilot sites, challenges faced and approaches to mitigating challenges. This request for information is to conduct market research on whether there are sufficient interest capabilities from vendors to conduct these evaluations. Responses to the RFI were due on January 18.
The Indiana Department of Education is proposing a change to the state's ESSA plan by removing A-F ratings for federal accountability and replacing them with four classification groups: exceeding, meeting, approaching, or not meeting expectations, to help clear up confusion about how schools are doing in the different accountability arenas.
ESSA requires states to identify schools that are in need of improvement and those where vulnerable groups of students are struggling. Under accountability regulations written by the Obama administration, states were supposed to publish this data by Dec. 31, 2018 but those regulations were scrapped by Republicans in Congress and the Trump administration in early 2017. The Trump administration's November 2018 ESSA "parent guide" has a section on report cards, but makes no mention of a date for them to be released.