Welcome to another edition of Answering Your ESSA Questions, where we try to demystify the Every Student Succeeds Act. Our next question comes from an anonymous reader.
Question: How many states are including “school climate” in their ESSA accountability systems?
Answer: Not as many as you might think. ESSA told states they had to pick an indicator of school quality or student success to measure alongside test scores. Most states picked either chronic absenteeism and/or college and career readiness. At least four states say they are incorporating “school climate” specifically into school ratings, including Illinois (which is measuring climate through surveys), Maryland (which is also using surveys), Montana (where school climate is part of a broader measure of “program quality” that also includes reducing behavior issues, and increasing engagement) and New Mexico (which is gauging school climate through “Opportunity to Learn” surveys.)
Two other states—California and Ohio—are looking at school discipline data. And Rhode Island and Tennessee are specifically looking at suspensions.
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