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Updated FAQs: Transitions to ESSA

By Patrick Chapman, Executive Director, Federal Programs
Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 10:23am

The U.S. Department of Education released an updated set of frequently asked questions (FAQs) related to the transition from No Child Left Behind (NCLB) to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Please visit our ESSA webpage to review the ESSA FAQs and other information related to the new law.


After attending the ESSA Listening Tour, I felt compelled to respond on the topic of assessment and accountability.

While the last few years of increased state and federal testing has soured the waters of assessment, I do not believe it was all bad. I think the process helped educators understand the correlation between what they are doing in the classroom and the outcome of their students. I believe we are better off having completed the process.

That said, I believe the assessments and accountability districts will engage in are those they value. The ones that provide actionable feedback that will inform classroom practice. We also need to adopt assessments students and community members value (I am assuming the recent opt-out craze is the result of parents/students not valuing the assessment).

As a district we value NWEA and ACT (now SAT). If we were given the option to report student growth and achievement we would choose these two assessment packages. Our students and teachers value the assessment and therefore strive to improve both classroom practice and student growth.

State mandated testing is a distraction from learning. The results are not valued nor used to inform instruction. I would suggest the state abandon its ties with Pearson, take the state assessment monies and divide it among the states 178 districts to fund the assessments their district values. Of course there will need to be guidelines on the assessments each district adopts, but overall, I believe districts will choose assessments aligning to the CAS and those that will prepare their students for college and career readiness skills (PSAT, SAT)

Our district would probably use TS Gold, Dibels, NWEA and PSAT (at the 8th, 9th and 10th grade level), SAT at the 11th grade level.

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