With the reauthorization of ESSA, states have the flexibility to design their own comprehensive accountability systems that measure student achievement and school quality using multiple measures beyond test scores (e.g., student engagement, access to and completion of advanced coursework, and school climate and safety). These state-designed systems must ensure that all students count for the purposes of accountability. Accountability systems must aim to improve a state’s capacity to identify and improve student learning in the state’s lowest-performing 5 percent of schools, lower high school dropout rates, and improve performance in schools in which any group of students is consistently underperforming under the State’s accountability system.
Accountability measures under ESSA include: state-developed interim progress measurements, state-developed summative determinations and transparent reporting on all individual indicators, state-developed strategies for ensuring adequate assessment participation rates (at least 95%), and state-developed college- and career-ready standards. States must provide their accountability plan to the Department of Education for review.