Accountability

Below are the most recent news, reports, and recommendations relating to the ESSA and accountability.

Kentucky DOE Releases Limited School Report Cards

The Kentucky Department of Education released their latest state school report cards recently, though noting that due to the cancellation of spring assessments amid Covid-19 school closures, this year’s report cards feature little of the accountability and performance data typically required. State officials noted that…

School Suspensions Drive Learning Loss in 28 Districts

A new study from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA describes how middle and high school students in 28 U.S. school districts lost more than a year of learning due to suspension, reports Linda Jacobson for the 74 Million. Under the Every Student Succeeds Act,…

Indiana Report Cards Face Test Transition, COVID Closures

Indiana’s state school report cards will, like those of most other states navigating the cancellation of spring testing due to Covid-19, lack information typically required under ESSA. However, Indiana now faces two year’s of incomplete or missing data, as state officials had been granted protection…

Department of Ed Reminds Schools of Requirements for Students with Disabilities

Responding to growing confusion around the provision of special education services after a chaotic back-to-school season, the federal Department of Education released several Q&A-styled documents to offer guidance to states and districts still determining their plans for special education. This follows the Department’s declination to…

Parent Details How Accountability Measures Have Helped Students With Disabilities

Writer and mom to a student who happens to have Down’s Syndrome, Vicki Vila discusses how accountability measures put into place by ESSA have helped and motivated schools to ensure a proper learning environment for students who receive special education services at a greater rate…

Wyoming Seeks to Have After-School Programs Supplement School Day

A waiver application pursued by the Wyoming Department of Education would allow community education programs, like those commonly offered by the Boys and Girls Club, to operate during school hours to both supplement learning opportunities but also provide increased childcare options amid school closures. The…

OH: Local Superintendents Question Accountability Measures And Report Card Release

Discussions around the release of Ohio’s annual state school report card paint a picture of how some district and schools officials are balking at accountability measures required by ESSA. Citing the cancellation of spring standardized testing, this year’s state report cards include only a fraction…

Changes to Maryland Accountability Plan Would Expand “Gifted and Talented” Programs

An update to Maryland’s ESSA accountability plan would amend how schools in the state’s 24 districts would identify and create instructional programs for children found to be “talented or gifted,” shifting the screening bar from the sixth to the third grade. In addition, the plan…

Science and Discovery Labs Rethink Programming and School Supports

When the STEM Technology Lab at the University of New Hampshire was forced due to the spread of the coronavirus, Director Sarah Grosvenor immediately began rethinking how the lab could continue supporting science and technology programs at middle and high schools in the region, as…

New Jersey Amends Graduation Rules, Causing Spike in Grad Rate

Changes to New Jersey’s graduation requirements have resulted in an almost five percent increase in the preliminary graduation rate for schools in Newark. State officials scrapped a rule requiring high school graduates to pass state standardized tests after state tests were cancelled in the spring…

Pandemic Closures and Virtual Learning Complicate Policies on Attendance

This in-depth look at the progression of attendance policies in recent times details how, following the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act in 2015, 36 states and the District of Columbia chose to use attendance as non-academic measures of success in their state accountability…

Georgia DOE Tweaks Assessment Strategy for 2020-21 After Denied Waiver Request

In response to the decision by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to not grant additional testing waivers to states for the 2020-21 school year, Georgia State Superintendent Richard Woods announced how the state will rethink their approach to administering assessments in the winter and spring. Citing…

Theatre Director Highlights Renewed Need for Arts Education

According to youth theater director Shana Bestock, arts education can provide opportunities for students to develop key social and emotional learning skills and, even amid the pandemic, can still be creatively taught. Bestock shares some suggested ways to adapt theatre and music lessons in a…

Indiana Community Programs Receive Support From ESSA-Funded Grant

Over $10 million will be distributed to 45 “out-of-school” programs in Indiana, according to the state department of education. The fund, which is continued through Title IV of ESSA, focuses on providing support to “local programs providing a safe and enriching learning environment to bolster…

Virginia Seeking Public Comment On Proposed ESSA State Plan

The Virginia Department of Education is accepting feedback on three proposed changes to it’s ESSA state plan, all of which were introduced prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes would clarify requirements for students who take advanced math courses prior to the…

DeVos to State Education Leaders: Don’t Expect Waivers For Annual Testing

After months of uncertainty, education leaders, teachers, researchers, and advocates received an answer to whether state annual assessments would resume this school year following an abrupt cancellation this past spring due to the coronavirus. In a letter to all state superintendents – not just the…

New Jersey Mental Health Program Folded Into Larger State Health Resources, Sparks Concern

The decision to cut funding for an in-school mental health program resulted in some confusion and concern for the communities of the 90 New Jersey schools where the program operates. In response, a spokeswoman for the Department of Children and Families said that mental health…

Two New, Free On-Demand Resources to Empower Student Equity

In a partnership between the National School Boards Association and Learning Science International, two new resources have been developed that aim to help educators and school leaders empower students, increase equity, and drive student achievement. The resources specifically employ the concept of “Academic Teaming” and,…

Second Federal Judge Halts DeVos’ Rule Giving Federal Coronavirus Aid to Private Schools

In the span of a week, two federal judges pressed pause on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ spring rule to allow a larger portion of federal stimulus dollars targeting public schools to be allocated to private institutions. After the passage of the CARES Act in March,…

New Ratings for NJ Schools Describe Performance Before Pandemic

New Jersey has released new ratings of its more than 2,100 schools, as required by ESSA. The ratings are based on multiple factors, including data from the New Jersey Student Learning Assessment. Though they are the most recent available, the ratings were determined prior to…

State Personalized Learning Plans Need Common Definition, More Support, Researchers Say

Two researchers at the University of Kansas have released their analysis of state “personalized learning” policies, as demonstrated by each state’s ESSA accountability plan. The authors found little consensus on conceptual frameworks or definitions for how personalized learning models ought to be utilized in schools,…

South Carolina DOE Survey Gathers Public Feedback on Assessment Waiver

After having announced their intent to request a second waiver of federally-required standardized assessments, the South Carolina Department of Education has created a survey to collect public feedback on the move. Though required by ESSA, State Superintendent Molly Spearman said “it is critical that students,…

Mississippi State Auditor Warns of Issues in State’s Education Data

Mississippi State Auditor Shad White has some warnings about the reliability of the state’s education data, calling attention to three recent reports on methods used to determine graduation rates, completion rates for career and technical programs, and student attendance. White says “lawmakers, the Department of…

Using “Common Sense” to Broaden Evidence Beyond ESSA

Nora Gordon and Carrie Conaway, authors of the new book “Common-Sense Evidence: The Education Leader’s Guide to Using Data and Research,” detail some of their most significant findings as they sought to clarify ESSA’s requirement that instructional interventions and programs adopted by schools be “evidence-based.”…

Oregon Updates 2020-21 Guidance with ESSA Equity Considerations

In new guidance released by the Oregon Department of Education, special consideration is given to how schools can best “ensure equity and access for students” who receive services under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and the Americans…