The Basics: What You Need to Know About ESSA and Accountability

  • ESSA has preserved annual grade-level testing but is less prescriptive about how the results are used in accountability systems.
  • Statewide accountability systems must be based on challenging state academic standards.
  • The challenging state academic standards must be aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in the state’s system of public higher education and relevant state career and technical education standards.
  • In the place of NCLB’s AYP provisions, the state is required to establish long-term goals, which include the measurement of interim progress toward meeting such goals.
  • Results must be disaggregated within each state, local education agency (LEA), and school by
    1. each major racial and ethnic group;
    2. economically disadvantaged students compared to students who are not economically disadvantaged;
    3. children with disabilities compared to children without disabilities;
    4. English proficiency status;
    5. gender; and
    6. migrant status.
  • The indicator of school quality or student success allows the progress of schools and students to be measured using metrics other than standardized test scores.
  • Click here for a graphic organizer showing the necessary components of a statewide accountability system.

Read our recent issue of revision focused
on school accountability systems: 

School Accountability Systems and
the Every Student Succeeds Act

ESSA School Accountability screenshot




United States Department of Education

Alliance for Excellent Education

American Institutes for Research

The Brookings Institution

Council of Chief State School Officers

The Education Trust

Education Week

Learning Policy Institute

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

National Association of State Boards of Education

National Education Association

New America Foundation – EdCentral

Thomas B. Fordham Institute

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation