Dec. 10, 2015
Interim Commissioner of Education Elliott Asp statement on Every Student Succeeds Act
This morning, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The bill aims to maintain the important civil rights components from No Child Left Behind, while providing greater flexibility and discretion to states and school districts as opposed to the one-size-fits-all requirements that previously limited innovation at the state and local levels.
Yesterday, at the Colorado State Board of Education meeting, CDE staff presented the board with an overview of the Every Student Succeeds Act. ESSA continues to provide funding and accountability for some of our students with greatest needs – those in poverty, learning English and those struggling to meet the Colorado Academic Standards. But it allows for state expertise and priorities to be used in determining accountability and interventions. The new law will provide opportunities for a small number of states to try new assessment systems.
“We have already started conversations with districts across Colorado about different ways of assessing students’ mastery of the standards and adding additional components to our accountability system,” said Interim Commissioner of Education Elliott Asp. “Through the assessment pilot project and new requirements for accountability, ESSA is opening a door for us to continue on this path and explore new and meaningful ways of implementing assessments that are more timely and informative for teachers, students and parents and incorporate critical aspects of schooling that go beyond student achievement in our accountability system.”
Schools, districts and parents in Colorado won’t see an immediate difference between the implementation of Colorado’s ESEA waiver (approved by the state board last month) and the new law. Tests are still required for all students in English language arts and math in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. Science is still required once per grade span (3-5, 6-9, 10-12). Colorado will continue to implement the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests this year, including the math and English language arts exams created through multi-state Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC). In addition, Colorado will continue to use its own accountability system to meet federal requirements.
As Asp mentions above, the law allows seven states to participate in a pilot project to develop new ways of assessing students – these could be a combination of locally developed tests and state tests that may not be given every year to every student. Read more on ESSA.