Standards and Assessments

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

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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OK Submits its ESSA Plan

Oklahoma has sent its ESSA plan to the U.S. Dept. of Education. Referred to as “Oklahoma Edge,” the plan “takes a more student-by-student approach to public education, including a goal of developing an individualized career academic plan for every student by 2025.”

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New Changes in KS’ ESSA Plan

Under Kansas’ ESSA plan, “75 percent of all K-12 students will be expected to score in the Level 3 and 4 ranges on state English and mathematics annual state assessment tests by 2030, meaning they will be expected to achieve scores that show they’re on…

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CA Adopts State’s ESSA Plan

The California State Board of Education adopted the state’s ESSA compliance plan “with, as expected, few changes to the draft published last month.” After a year-and-a-half of work, “most board members said they were satisfied that the document meshes with and advances the state’s larger…

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CA Receives Waiver from U.S. Dept. of Ed

EdSource reports that California received a waiver from the U.S. Dept. of Education from “administering outdated science tests, instead allowing it to give students pilot tests based on new science standards.” However, “the department granted the waiver only for the just completed school year,” and “made…

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IL Begins ESSA Implementation

With Illinois’ ESSA plan accepted, “changes are already in the works in classrooms across the state.” The plan would mandate that “at least 90 percent of the state’s third graders reading at or above grade level, 9 out of 10 fifth graders at or above grade…

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The Importance of Standards under ESSA

Dr. Elizabeth Primas, program manager for the NNPA/ESSA Public Awareness Campaign, writes about the importance of standards under ESSA, which gives states leeway to “continue using the Common Core State Standards and/or create and adopt their own rigorous standards.” And along with the “freedom to…

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Dept. of Ed Approves 4 State ESSA Plans

The Dept. of Education approved four state ESSA plans – the District of Columbia, Illinois, Oregon, and Tennessee. “As more and more state plans come under the department’s review, I am heartened to see how states have embraced the spirit of flexibility under ESSA to…

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