Standards and Assessments

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

Louisiana, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico Apply for Innovative Assessment Pilot

Alyson Klein reports in Education Week that Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico have officially submitted applications for the ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Pilot, which “allows states to try out new forms of testing in a handful of districts, with the goal of eventually taking them…

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ESSA Driving Focus on Career and Technical Ed?

Meghan Mangrum reports in the Chattanooga Times Free Press that as districts in Tennessee and across the Southeast “seek to improve student achievement and states roll out plans” to comply with ESSA, “many of them have quietly—and not so quietly—moved toward enhancing career and technical…

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NGSS Outlines Stem Funding in Budget

Next Generation Science Standards takes a deep dive into the federal budget to see how STEM programs make out in terms of funding for the next fiscal year. They report that “STEM advocates are celebrating increased funding for programs and initiatives in” ESSA, several of…

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“What’s Up” With State Grad Rates?

“I guess it’s good news that Missouri’s graduation rate in 2017 was nearly 90 percent—higher than the national average,” writes Susan Pendergrass, director of education policy at the Show-Me Institute, in the Columbia Daily Tribune. “But have we really put those students on the ‘path…

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Three States “Raise Hands” on Innovative Assessment Pilot

Education Week’s Alyson Klein reports that Arizona, Louisiana, and New Hampshire have informed the U.S. Department of Education of their interest in applying for ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Pilot, and more could follow before the April 2 application deadline. Under ESSA, the Education Secretary can give…

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Utah Board Feeling Flirty with Federal Funding

According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the Utah Board of Education has voted to request a waiver to for ESSA’s requirement that public-school students take part in annual assessments. But some board members went even farther, arguing that the state should “intentionally reject those…

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Grad Rates Don’t Necessarily = College and Career Readiness

MinnPost reports that, in light of the U.S. Department of Education’s recent approval of Minnesota’s ESSA plan, “establishing high graduation expectations seems essential to ensuring the state has a more equitable public education system.” But the gains so often celebrated on this issue are being…

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North Dakota School Districts Switching to ACT from Statewide Assessments

The Associated Press reports that a dozen state high school districts are switching to the ACT from state assessments for both math and English, because of ESSA’s requirement to “reduce testing time and to administer a test that ‘matters’ to students.”

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Changes in Indiana’s Graduation Rate Should Be Focus on Diploma Debate

There’s been no shortage of coverage of the changes that Indiana will be implementing to its high school diploma. By doing away with its general diploma, it has been reported that Indiana’s graduation rate could drop as much as 12 percent. But, as Indiana Public…

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Indiana Grad Rate Woes Just Keep on Coming

The Indianapolis Star reports (again) about Indiana’s quest to “save the state’s high school graduation rate from sinking toward to the bottom of national rankings” because if they don’t, thousands of student diplomas “will be discounted by the U.S. Department of Education and no longer…

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Arts Support for Academics Tricky under ESSA

In Education Week, Stephen Sawchuk asks “Can Schools Use Arts to Support Academics Under ESSA?” The answer is that “It’s Tricky.” Sawchuk says it is in fact “doable” to use the arts to support academics as part of ESSA, but according to a new report…

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Special Ed Advocates Not Loving the Empire State

Education Week’s Alyson Klein writes that special education advocates “have a message for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos: Don’t let New York wiggle out of the Every Student Succeeds Act’s testing requirements for students with significant cognitive disabilities.”

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Opting Out of the Opt-Out Movement Thanks to ESSA

According to Education Dive, the opt-out movement “appears to be slowly fading” as “states gain more control of testing requirements” under ESSA; in New York, for example, where the “opt-out movement has been the strongest,” the opt-out rate has dropped 2 percentage points in just the…

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Promises of Greater Flexibility

According to the Washington Times, Arizona may put the “promises of greater flexibility” under ESSA to the test due to a 2016 state law “that allows traditional and charter school leaders to choose the standardized test they think best fits each school’s teaching methods.”

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GA Prioritizes Narrowing the Achievement Gap

NNPA’s Dr. Elizabeth Primas 30 writes that “Georgia is making every effort to ensure that students have a better chance of performing at proficient or advanced levels on all state exams” under ESSA, which “prioritizes narrowing the achievement gap.”

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Are States Trying to Create Assessments in Students’ First Language?

Education Week’s Corey Mitchell writes that under ESSA, states must “make every effort” to create assessments “in students’ first languages if they constitute a significant portion of the student population.” But a number of states are “gambling that their English-only laws” will allow them to…

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CO State Board of Ed Votes to Create Quality Systems for State’s Schools

In “an effort to keep federal dollars flowing to Colorado classrooms,” the State Board of Education voted recently “to create two quality systems for the state’s schools—the existing one designed in 2009 by state lawmakers, and a new one that meets federal requirements.” After Colorado became…

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Education Experts Discuss Senate Committee Hearing around ESSA

Hosts of the Alliance for Excellent Education’s Federal Flash, Monica Almond and Nikki McKinney, discuss the recent Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing that examined “the quality of state plans developed under” ESSA. They also discuss how “a key ESSA architect”—former Chairman…

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Experts Assesses NY State’s High School Graduation Rate

“New York state’s high school graduation rate may take a hit due to an under-the-radar provision in” ESSA, reports Chalkbeat New York. The new law “requires states to count only ‘standard’ diplomas earned by a “preponderance” of students or honors diplomas in their federal graduation…

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States Have Opportunity to Rethink how to Handle Testing Opt-outs

“Parents who opted their children out of state exams in recent years became the focal point of major education debates in the country about the proper roles of testing, the federal government, and achievement gaps,” writes Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa. But under ESSA, “states have a…

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GA Governor says State ESSA Plan Falls Short in Setting High Expectations

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that, while Georgia School Superintendent Richard Woods is pushing to take advantage of testing flexibility under ESSA, Governor Nathan Deal “opposes a retreat from test scores as a critical determinant of school performance.” Governor Deal has refused to put his signature on Georgia’s ESSA…

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OH Rep. Calls for Lawmakers Involvement in ESSA Plan

ESSA grants states “control to determine academic standards, and Republican Ohio House of Representatives member Theresa Gavarone wants lawmakers to have the final say in what the Ohio Department of Education comes up with.” Gavarone says, “We’ve been elected by our constituents and as representatives…

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IN Changes School Graduation Rate Factors’

Under ESSA, “thousands of Indiana diplomas known as general diplomas would no longer count for a school’s graduation rate,” and Indiana “could see its statewide graduation rate drop from 89 percent to 76 percent.” The state’s Congressional Delegation “wants the federal education department to give…

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States Utilize New Opportunities under ESSA

According to Education Dive, ESSA gives states “more flexibility regarding educational goals, and states are now examining ways to strengthen science education as part of their new assessment strategies.” A number of “states that have already submitted ESSA plans to the U.S. Department of Education…

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IN Governor Gives Stamp of Approval to State’s ESSA Plan

Governor Eric Holcomb “has given his stamp of approval” to Indiana’s ESSA plan. The state’s top education officials seem to have, at least thus far, “reached some level of consensus on how to move forward.”

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