Your Education Road Map

Politics K-12®

ESSA. Congress. State chiefs. School spending. Elections. Education Week reporters keep watch on education policy and politics in the nation’s capital and in the states. Read more from this blog.


Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico Apply for ESSA Innovative Testing Pilot

By Alyson Klein — April 03, 2018 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print


Louisiana, New Hampshire, and Puerto Rico have officially submitted applications for the Every Student Succeeds Act’s Innovative Assessment pilot, the U.S. Department of Education says.

The pilot, which was initially one of the most buzzed-about pieces of ESSA, allows up to seven states to try out new forms of testing in a handful of districts, with the goal of eventually taking them statewide. More than a dozen states—including biggies like New York—initially mulled applying, but ended up deciding against it.

That could be because the pilot has clear rules that don’t make participation easy. States must make sure the new tests are comparable to the state exam, and are accessible to English-language learners and students in special education—all without additional financial resources.

New Hampshire’s decision to apply is no surprise. The state was the early national leader on these innovative assessments. The Granite State got permission under the No Child Left Behind Act—the law that ESSA replaced—to allow several districts to use performance-based assessments in some years, in lieu of the state exam. New Hampshire’s application will likely build upon that work.

Louisiana is newer to the innovative-assessment game. The Pelican State is seeking to combine tests for two related subjects: English and social studies. The tests will include passages from books students have actually been exposed to in class, rather than brand-new material. Students will be asked to complete a series of brief reading and writing exams throughout the school year, to help their teachers get “real time” update on progress, according to a statement from the Louisiana Department of Education. Louisiana will initially try out these tests in five school districts.

Puerto Rico, where the entire school system was recently upended by Hurricane Maria, is engaging in a top-to-bottom overhaul that includes a new focus on choice. The pilot may fit into that overall picture.

Two other states—Hawaii and Arizona—also raised their hands to express interest in the pilot earlier this year. But both, it appears, ultimately opted not to apply.

Arizona has passed a law that would allow schools a choice of tests in grade 3 on up, beginning in the 2019-20 school year. The law was not mentioned in Arizona’s ESSA plan, which has been approved by the feds. But the idea is not likely to be kosher under ESSA, which requires states to use the same test for every student, in every grade, unless the state is part of the pilot.

It appears that Arizona considered whether the pilot’s requirements would gel with this state law, but decided they did not.

“All of our time and resources have been focused on developing the menu of assessments that the Arizona legislature passed into law. The menu didn’t really fit into the innovative pilot, so we opted not to participate,” said Stefan Swiat, a spokesman for the Arizona Department of Education, in an email.

A spokeswoman for the Hawaii Department of Education said the state plans to apply down the road, rather than for next school year.

Want to learn more about the Every Student Succeeds Act? Here’s some useful information:

Follow us on Twitter at @PoliticsK12.

Related Tags:

Commenting has been disabled on effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP