Key Takeaways: State Accountability Plans Under ESSA
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have submitted plans for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law gives states significant new leeway to set student achievement goals and calls for looking beyond test scores in gauging school performance.
What is a state plan?
The Every Student Succeeds Act pushes states to move beyond test scores in gauging school performance and gives them all sorts of new flexibility when it comes to funding, turning around low-performing schools, and more. But states still have to submit an accountability roadmap—including long-term goals for student achievement—to the U.S. Department of Education for approval. States get two chances to turn in their plans—either the spring of 2017 or the fall, with a final deadline of Sept. 18. A team of experts will review each plan, but it will be up to the secretary of education to ultimately decide if it complies with the law.
What are states planning for ESSA?
The following have already submitted ESSA accountability plans: Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Vermont.
Select a state for a brief overview of its plans and downloadable PDF:
For a more detailed look at state ESSA plans:
|STATE||GOALS||SCHOOL RATINGS||ACADEMIC INDICATORS||SCHOOL QUALITY INDICATOR||MEASURING SUBGROUPS ("N"-SIZE)||TESTING OPT-OUTS|
|Arizona||The state wants proficiency gaps between 90 percent proficiency and baseline proficiency for all students and student groups to be cut at least in half by the 2027-28 school year; also, Arizona wants all students to hit at least 90 percent proficiency on state English/language arts and math exams by 2039-40; the state also wants a 90 percent graduation rate for the four-year adjusted cohort rate by 2030||As it has in recent years, Arizona plans to use a school rating system based on A-F school grades; an "A" school would be "excellent" and an "F" school would be considered "failing"||Academic achievement, academic progress, graduation rates for high schools (including four-, five-, six-, and seven-year graduation rates), English-language proficiency||For elementary schools: acceleration and readiness; for high schools: college- and career-readiness (these measures are still being finalized)||20 students (Arizona notes that this is not final)||Hitting a 95-percent participation rate on mandatory exams will be a factor in school improvement decisions; in addition, schools that miss that participation rate over multiple years will have to use interventions to address the issue|
|Colorado||The state wants all students scoring at the 50th percentile on state English/language arts and math exams to score, in six years, at the same level as a student scoring at the 53rd percentile today; state also wants all students and student subgroups to have a graduation rate of 90.3 percent in six years||There will be a points-based system and four performance bands, with cut-offs for each performance band at the 15th, 50th, and 85th percentiles||Academic achievement through mean scale score, median student growth percentile, four-, five-, six-, or seven-year graduation rates, progress in reaching English-language proficiency||Reduction in chronic absenteeism for elementary and middle schools; reduction in dropout rates for high schools||16 students for academic achievement and graduation rate indicators, 20 students for growth indicators||A school or district that misses 95 percent on the state E/LA or math exams has to create an improvement plan to address the situation and distribute information about the exams; low participation rates must also be included in ESSA program reviews|
|Connecticut||100 percent of all students and subgroups will hit various growth targets by 2029-30; 94 percent will graduate high school in four years by 2029-30||Rating based on a 0-100 index score||Achievement in reading and math; growth in reading and math; four-year adjusted cohort for graduation; six-year adjusted cohort for graduation||Chronic absenteeism; preparation for college-and-career coursework and exams; participation rates on tests; postsecondary enrollment; physical fitness; access to arts education; on-track graduation for 9th graders||20 students||A school otherwise getting highest or second-highest ranking would be knocked down one ranking|
|Delaware||Cut in half the share of all students and subgroups not proficient on English/language arts and math exams by 2030; cut in half the share of high school students not graduating after four years||Index score to create a "text-based" rating||Achievement; growth; social studies in certain grades; growth of students; on-track high school graduation for 9th graders; progress in English-language proficiency; four-, five-, and six-year cohort graduation rates; science in certain grade spans||Chronic absenteeism; college-and-career preparedness (including things like SAT and ACT scores and career certification)||15 students||A school would have to submit plan to increase testing participation, with further state action possible|
|District of Columbia||By 2038-39, 85 percent of all students and subgroups will score a level 4 or 5 on the PARCC exam; 90 percent of high school students will graduate after four years||Five-tier performance rating system||Achievement, growth, graduation rates, English-language proficiency; college-readiness measured by ACT, AP, and IB participation and scores||Chronic absenteeism; a mix of attendance indicators; choice to re-enroll in same school; standardized observations that take into account factors including classroom organization, emotional support, and instructional support||10 students||A system would monitor and assist school, with interventions possible after multiple years|
|Illinois||By 2032, 90 percent of all students and subgroups will be proficient in English/language arts and math; by 2032, students in grades 3, 5, and 9 and high school graduates will meet four other percentage-based goals; 90 percent of students will graduate||Four-tier school-rating system, ranging from "exemplary" to "lowest-performing"||Proficiency, growth, English-language proficiency, graduation rates; plans to do science proficiency; exploring fine arts and another indicator for elementary and middle schools||Chronic absenteeism; climate surveys; whether 9th graders are on track to graduate; an early-childhood education indicator; exploring an arts indicator||20 students||A school could not get top score for academic proficiency; participation rate would factor into school-improvement decisions|
|Louisiana||Annual average improvement target of 2.5 percentage point gains in achievement on state reading and math tests between 2018 and 2025 for all students and student subgroups; plan includes goal of reaching a graduation rate of 90 percent by 2025 for all students and student subgroups||A-F school grades, based on an index scores ranging from 0-150, would be given to schools; ratings system would shift in 2021 and again in 2024||Achievement on state exams, including high school end-of-course exams and an ACT/WorkKeys index; growth index; graduation rate index; English-language proficiency index; school quality indicators including access to a well-rounded education||Middle schools would be measured on credit accumulation through 9th grade; high schools would be measured on the "strength of diploma" students receive; all schools would be measured on "interests and opportunities" that cover various programs||10 students||All nonparticipants in the state exam will receive a score of zero, which will in turn impact school scores on the state's accountability system|
|Maine||The state wants all students and student subgroups to hit various performance targets on state exams by 2030; goal is for 75.2 percent of all students to be proficient in reading/language arts, and 69.2 percent to be proficient in math; wants 90 percent of all students and student subgroups to graduate in 2030 or maintain their current graduation rate, whichever is higher, using the four-year adjusted cohort method||A four-tier rating system, similar to one the state already uses, from "exceeds state expectations" to "requires review for supports"||Achievement; growth; four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates; progress for English-learners||Percentage of students who have consistent attendance||10 students||Schools with participation rates between 75 and 94 percent would have to submit a plan; schools below 75 percent would have to show steps taken; participation not factored into summative school rating|
|Massachusetts||No long-term academic goals are set because state says it must wait for new baselines; increase overall and subgroup graduation rates by 5 percentage points by 2020||Six-tier rating system, based on 1-100 index||Achievement in reading and math; growth in reading and math; achievement in science; four- and five-year graduation rates plus percentage of students still enrolled in high school; dropout rates; English-language proficiency||Chronic absenteeism; success in 9th grade courses; successful completion of a broad and challenging high school curriculum (including things like AP and IB course-taking)||20 students||A school’s overall summative rating would decline|
|Michigan||Proposes that 75 percent of schools and 75 percent of all student subgroups reach various proficiency targets on state exams in English/language arts, math, science, and other subjects by 2024-25||The state included two options for A-F school grades, with one giving schools a final, summative grade, and the other only giving A-F grades to different components of the accountability system; the state is also developing a dashboard system combining the system's six elements||100-point achievement index; 100-point growth index; four-, five-, and six-year cohort graduation rates; 100-point English-learner progress index; various school-quality indicators depending on grade level; participation in state assessments||State would include four factors in this indicator: chronic absenteeism; time spent in arts, library, and physical education programs in K-8; advanced coursework in grades 11-12; and postsecondary enrollment rates||30 students, except for English-learners, whose n-size would be 10 students||Eligible students who do not take state exams would be recorded as having a score of zero when determining proficiency rates in the state accountability system|
|Nevada||By 2022, have 61 percent of all students and subgroups proficient in English/language arts and 41 percent proficient in math; have 84 percent of high school students graduate after four years||Five-star rating tool, based on 1-100 index||Proficiency; English-language proficiency; growth; graduation rates for high schools||Student engagement; college-and-career readiness (for high schools) closure of opportunity gaps for elementary and middle schools||10 students||A school would initially be labeled with a "warning," then subject to increasing penalties after multiple years|
|New Jersey||By 2030, have 80 percent of all students and subgroups meet or exceed expectations on PARCC; have 95 percent of all students and subgroups graduate after four years in high school by 2030||Score based on 100-point scale||Achievement, growth, four- and five-year graduation rates, English-language progress||Chronic absenteeism||20 students||As ESSA requires, each student at the school causing a participation rate below 95 percent would be scored not proficient|
|New Mexico||By 2022, 64.9 percent of students will be proficient on PARCC English/language arts test, and 61.2 percent proficient on PARCC math test||A-F grading system||Four-, five- and six-year graduation rates; achievement; growth in four-year graduation rate; STEM readiness; English-language proficiency||"Opportunity to learn surveys" to capture climate, student engagement, and more; attendance measures; college-and-career readiness, including remediation and persistence||20 students||A school will have its A-F grade decrease by one letter if 95 percent of students don’t take the state English/language arts or math test|
|North Dakota||The state plans to set goals on the state reading and math tests for all students and several student subgroups for the 2023-24 school year; overall, the state's goal is to reduce "the number of nonproficient students for all students and for each subgroup of students by 33 percent within six years"||North Dakota plans to use a "dashboard" accountability system "that will allow multiple factors to be used when summarizing a school’s measure of quality and assist the state in meaningful differentiation of school quality"||For elementary school, academic achievement, growth, progress in English language proficiency; for high school, academic achievement, growth, progress in English-language proficiency, four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates||Student engagement as measured through surveys for elementary schools, student engagement and career readiness for high schools||10 students||A school or district where test participation fell below 95 percent would be labeled as having insufficient participation, and would be required to implement a plan to improve its test participation|
|Oregon||The state wants 80 percent of all students and student subgroups to score at a level demonstrating that they are on track for postsecondary readiness by 2024-25, based on state tests; also wants all students and student subgroups to graduate at a 90 percent clip by the same year||There will be three broad categories for assessing school performance, but no single and final rating for all schools; for each indicator, there will be five levels of performance, ranging from "meets goal" to "in the lowest 10 percent of schools"||Achievement in English/language arts and math; growth in E/LA and math; four-year graduation rate; English-language performance and growth||All schools will use chronic absenteeism as an indicator of school quality; high schools will also be judged on two other indicators: involving 9th grade academic progress and high school completion||20 students||Schools where one or more student groups fail to hit 95 percent participation have to develop a plan to improve participation rates; Oregon law allows parents to opt their children out of these tests for any reason|
|Tennessee||Perform in top half of 4th and 8th grade NAEP scores among states by 2019; 75 percent of 3rd graders proficient in reading by 2025; average ACT composite score of 21 by 2020; 95 percent graduation rate by 2024-25||A-F grading system||Achievement; growth; graduation rates combined with college-, career-, or military-readiness measures; English-language proficiency||Chronic absenteeism and out-of-school suspensions; graduation rate indicator incorporates whether students have met ACT benchmarks or earned military or workforce certification||30 students||A school would get an F grade in academic proficiency for all student groups not reaching 95 percent participation|
|Vermont||All schools score, on average, at the midpoint of the Smarter Balanced test’s proficiency range by 2025; 90 percent graduation rates for all students and subgroups by 2025||There would be five separate ratings for different accountability measures||Achievement, growth, four- and six-year graduation rates, English-language proficiency, English language proficiency in schools with sufficient numbers of ELLs||College-and-career readiness, physical education, science, postsecondary outcomes||25 students||School’s initial summative score would be multiplied by the percentage of students who took the exam|
Vol. 36, Issue 28, Page 19