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.
For decades, the federal Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) program run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture has been used as a proxy to identify economically disadvantaged students. Participation in that program has been limited to students from low-income families, defined as those earning below 185 percent of the federal poverty line. FRL has been wildely used in state school funding formulas and accountability systems to identify at-risk children.
Both ESSA and Perkins V are intended to support the development and maintenance of programs that ensure students and workers acquire the broad range of skills needed to engage successfully in college and careers. However, these laws have traditionally been addressed in isolation. This article explores how considering ESSA and Perkins V as complementary parts of a larger accountability system can help states be better aligned with both.