Tailored Approaches: How State ESSA Plans Address 'Continuous Improvement'

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Although the term isn’t specified in the Every Student Succeeds Act itself, state plans for ESSA are embracing some form of “continuous improvement”—systemic changes, informed by data, aimed at helping schools, districts, and state education agencies bolster outcomes for students over time. Among the examples in ESSA plans submitted to the federal government:


Developed a School Improvement Support Network as part of a redesigned Office of School Improvement to help districts craft plans to improve low-performing schools. The network trains district and state officials on understanding the needs of low-performing schools, and identifying the root causes of their problems, employing data in the school improvement process.

New York

New York
Set initial long-term goals for the first five years of ESSA plan implementation and will continuously update its goals for achievement and graduation rates annually. That way the goals can be regularly adjusted based on student outcomes over time.


Working with Proving Ground, an initiative out of Harvard University, to study the impact of evidence-based interventions on low-performing schools.

New Mexico

New Mexico
Working to develop a “real time” data system that will help the state and schools answer questions like how many 9th graders are behind where they need to be in terms of credit, or how many students have transferred from one school to another. Has reached out to the education community to get feedback on the state’s submitted ESSA plan.


Districts and schools must submit “continuous improvement” plans to the state that take into account both quantitative data such as test scores and graduation rates and qualitative data from school quality reviews performed by neighboring educators.

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