Home > Uncategorized > This Just In: ESSA Makes No Difference in Yet Another State

This Just In: ESSA Makes No Difference in Yet Another State

September 23, 2017

When ESSA was passed in Congress, it was marketed as an opportunity for states to establish their own accountability standards, thus giving them a chance to break away from the standardized test scores as the primary metric as “imposed on them” by the federal government. In state after state, though, the results have not borne out that promise. Here’s a portion of a report from Megan Raposa of the Argus Leader, a regional newspaper that’s part of the USA Today chain, that was presented in a Q and A format (my emphases added):

What’s different now? Monday’s rule change was only one piece of ESSA’s implementation. It changes the way schools are ranked by the state, and it gives schools a new way to look at how students are performing. 

What criteria will the state use to assess schools? The state will look at test scores, student attendance, graduation rates, college and career readiness, and how well English learners perform on standardized tests. 

How will this affect students? Largely, it won’t. Students will still take the same standardized tests as they did under No Child Left Behind. Also, they may see their teachers putting more emphasis on “college and career readiness,” a key theme in South Dakota’s education goals.

So while ESSA “gives schools a new way to look at how students are performing” the “new” method for measuring student performance will not make any difference to students since they will be taking the same standardized tests as they did under No Child Left Behind!

If South Dakota was an outlier, this would be no big deal… but to date I am unfamiliar with any states who are making a substantial break from their reliance on standardized tests. One the final tally is in on ESSA submissions, I’ll write a post on the “new way” states are assessing student performance… and I will be astonished if ANY of them are diminishing their reliance on tests.

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