Standards and Assessments

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations around standards and assessments.

Real Clear Education Analyzes DC’s ESSA Plan

Real Clear Education took a deep dive into DC’s ESSA plan, noting that its ambitious and comes with substantial changes to the status quo. The article notes that the plan sets lofty goals for student performance, calling for 85 percent of students to score a…

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Thomas B. Fordham Institute Raises Concerns over DC’s Proposed ESSA Plan

In an opinion piece, Michael J. Petrilli and Brandon L. Wright of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute raised concerns over the District of Columbia’s proposed ESSA plan. Petrilli and Wright argued that the District’s accountability plan doesn’t “do nearly enough for high achievers, especially those…

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DeVos Says it’s Up to States to Determine Testing Frequency for Students

At an event in Florida, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos argued that it is up to states to determine testing frequency for students. According to DeVos, “It’s really a matter for states and locales to determine how much testing is actually necessary for measuring…

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PA Dept. of Ed Seeks to Alleviate Testing Pressure on Students

The Pennsylvania Dept. of Education “hopes to alleviate testing pressure on students and teachers” as the state pulls together their ESSA implementation plan. Deputy Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education Matthew Stem, wants to utilize ESSA to “reduce the amount of time spent on standardized…

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CCSSO and Education Strategy Group Make Recommendations for Developing Accountability Systems that Value College and Career Readiness

The Council of Chief State School Officers and Education Strategy Group released recommendations for states as they develop ESSA accountability systems that “value college and career readiness” and “better support all students in achieving success after high school.” According to Matthew Gandal, president of Education Strategy Group, “college and career readiness is not prioritized in school…

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Recommendations for Professional Development and Student Engagements Around Assessments

The National Task Force on Assessment Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers released a recommendations “for professional development and parent and student engagement around assessments.” The guidance “helps states and districts discover provisions and flexibility in ESSA” and “outlines specific policies, practices, and language that improve individual student…

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LA Business and Education Groups Express Concern with Draft ESSA Plan

Nine Louisiana business and education groups – including  Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, the Urban League of Greater New Orleans and the Southern Poverty Law Center – expressed their concern with the way public school letter grades are calculated in Superintendent White’s draft ESSA…

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ME Dept. of Ed Considering “Certificate of Completion” Under ESSA

The Maine Dept. of Education is considering a “Certificate of Completion” under ESSA “designed to recognize students who may not be considered ‘proficient’ under the law,” but still “pass all their classes.” If approved, the certificate would fall under ESSA’s “college and career ready” indicator.

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SC Stakeholders Present ESSA Recommendations to State

 In an interview with The T&D, Dr. Tom Newman, superintendent of Orangeburg Consolidated School District Four, said that ESSA “allows states to eliminate ’unnecessary and duplicative assessments’.” Newman and other stakeholders have presented their recommendations to the state, but still have “some serious concerns” about…

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AR Dept. of Ed Announce Plan to Submit Final ESSA Plan in September

The Arkansas Dept. of Education announced the state will submit their final ESSA plan in September. The dept. “welcomed the new deadline” and wrote that the state will have “three years of student test data from the ACT Aspire tests by the time the new…

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MD Stakeholders Stress Importance of Consistency and Accountability

During a recent meeting as part of the Maryland Dept. of Education’s ESSA listening tour, stakeholders called for “consistency and ease of access to information” and “expressed interest in using additional indicators of success outside of academic standards.” Participants also suggested “investing in good leaders…

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TN’s Ed Commissioner Candice McQueen Outlines 4 New Goals for State’s ESSA Plan

During a town hall event with education leaders, Tennessee’s Education Commissioner Candice McQueen outlined four new goals the dept. is trying to achieve before the state’s ESSA plan takes effect. The goals for the plan include: 1, Tennessee ranking in the top half of the…

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Condoleezza Rice Gives ESSA Advice to Local Leaders

In an interview with The 74, Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, was asked about advice she would give to local leaders who are making decisions under ESSA. Rice encouraged states to set high standards for students and teachers and to give parents a choice….

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Dept. of Education Releases Final Testing Regulations

The Dept. of Education released final regulations on testing programs under ESSA. Changes included regulations on the number of students eligible to take alternative exams and other pilot programs. The final rules also expanded flexibility and sought to “clarify the parameters” when testing Native American…

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Resources for for Higher Education Leaders to Leverage ESSA

Higher Ed for Higher Standards – in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), National Association of System Heads (NASH), and State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) – released new resources for higher education leaders to “leverage ESSA.” The latest document, “Strategies to Support Student K-12 to…

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Rep. Emmer Affirms Support for ESSA, Career and Technical Education

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN-6) authored a MinnPost opinion piece, discussing his support of ESSA and highlighting his efforts in the field of career and technical education, through “innovative alternatives” and “affordable options to create ‘job-ready’ grads.” He also underscored the importance of local engagement, arguing,…

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Panel Named by Gov. Will Come up with Its Own Recommendations for State Implementation

A 15-member panel named by Gov. John Bel Edwards, “who differs with [Superintendent] White on key public school topics,” will come up with its own recommendations for the state’s implementation plan in December. The state’s draft plan would address time for end-of-year testing and “calls…

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New Clarity on How Funds can be Spent on Federal Programs

Education Week covered the Dept. of Education’s release of guidance on Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants – which provides clarity around how funds can be spent on federal programs aimed at health, safety, the arts, and technology. The department’s overall message underscored that a…

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Future President May Encounter Difficulties in Efforts to Micromanage School Reform

An election brief in The Economist notes that neither Donald Trump nor Hillary Clinton seem inclined to “micromanage school reform,” unlike the previous two occupants of the Oval Office. According to the piece, ESSA “hands back power to states over standards and tests” making it…

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Four Critical Opportunities for States That Are Developing New Testing Programs

KnowledgeWorks released “A Better Approach to Assessment,” which includes new resources for states that are developing new testing programs and requirements under ESSA. An infographic highlights the four critical opportunities states have when “developing student-centered assessment systems” that have the “potential to increase engagement, provide…

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Five Toolkits to Help Stakeholders Leverage ESSA

The Alliance for Excellent Education released five toolkits to help stakeholders “create-next generation high schools” by “leveraging opportunities available” under ESSA. The information provided is designed to “bolster the college and career readiness of all students” and is “changing approaches to student learning by emphasizing…

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Recommendations to Ensure a Well-Rounded Education for All Students

Education Week examined new guidelines for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grant program under ESSA. The piece highlighted the Dept. of Education’s recommendations on how funds can be spent for a “well-rounded education.” Part of a student’s educational experience can comprise of music and…

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Dept. of Education Releases Early Learning Guidelines

The Dept. of Education released guidelines on how states can “invest in early learning” under ESSA. The goal of the guidelines is to “improve the health, social-emotional, and cognitive outcomes for all children” and to keep students on track to “graduate from high school, college…

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New Opportunities for Young Learner Programs

Education Week reported on the Dept. of Education’s guidance on funding young learner programs under ESSA. The piece identified various options for federal funds to be used for young learners including: 1, training early learning teachers; 2, updating and aligning certification and licensing standards for…

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Sen. Tester Expresses Concern Over Testing Under ESSA

In a local education stakeholder discussion on state assessment plans, Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) was “hopeful federal officials will continue to have a local dialog as required by his amendment” under ESSA. Tester expressed concern over the large amounts of testing that students were facing…

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