Chapter 2: Accountability, Standards, and Assessment

Table of Contents

Through the past two decades, the federal role in public education expanded through the establishment of federal accountability structures aimed at measuring student outcomes against academic performance standards and creating consequences for schools and districts for insufficient progress toward meeting those benchmarks. And that evolution of school accountability led to an unprecedented level of transparency on school and school district performance.

In the wake of 1983’s landmark A Nation at Risk report, early forays into standards-based accountability began at the state level, initiated out of concern over stagnant student achievement overall and especially bleak outcomes among traditionally underserved communities of students. Those systems evolved from state-driven standards with little federal guidance in the 1980s and 1990s to a federally mandated system where states must create standards, performance measures, and sanctions for low-performing schools under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) in the 2000s. Pushback against the strong federal role, goals perceived as unrealistic, and other perceived flaws in the law resulted in a migration to increased state flexibility and experimentation — with federally established principles and state-driven policies for achieving them governed by waivers from federal law. Now, with the enactment of the next generation of NCLB — the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) — that migration back to state-driven accountability structures is codified in federal law. As implementation progresses with states adopting plans this year, only time will tell how  this newest evolution ultimately affects schools and students.

This chapter provides an overview of the history, theory, and evolution of standards-based accountability and school improvement and a status check on where the movement stands heading into the implementation of ESSA. With Common Core standards and assessments shared across many states, and facing political headwinds,  and states designing the next iteration of school accountability under ESSA, the national policy landscape is more varied than ever — and significantly altered from even five years ago.

The Origins of Standards-Based Reform: Responding to A Nation at Risk

Standards-based reform traces its roots to the 1983 publication of A Nation at Risk by Secretary of Education Terrel Bell’s National Commission on Excellence in Education.1 With its warning of a “rising tide of mediocrity,” notions of excellence, achievement, and accountability became the primary goals of state and federal education policy. And a cornerstone of the new approach would be high academic standards for what students should know and be able to do by the time they graduated high school (see sidebar What Is Standards-Based Reform?).

SIDEBAR: What Is Standards-Based Reform?

The theory of action behind standards-based reform is to create a coherent policy structure linking academic standards, student assessments, and accountability for results to drive positive student outcomes.

Read more.

Federal policymakers found this approach at work at the state level as several governors adopted standards-based school reform during the 1980s. These efforts coalesced into a national strategy after a 1989 bipartisan summit in Charlottesville, Virginia, between governors and President George H. W. Bush, where leaders looked to standards as the first step toward achieving lofty national education goals.2

The federal government increased its role with the 1994 reauthorization of ESEA 3 (the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA)). IASA required all states to create academic standards establishing expectations for students in reading and math. The updated law also mandated that states create assessments aligned to the standards in both subjects that would be given to all students periodically. IASA included some accountability measures to create incentives for school improvement.

States were slow to comply with IASA’s testing and accountability provisions, and erratic federal enforcement of the law led to unfaithful and uneven implementation. By the end of the decade, the majority of states still had not established assessments that fully complied with the IASA, let alone its accountability provisions. 4

Taking Standards-Based Reform to Scale: No Child Left Behind

In many ways, the 2001 passage of NCLB was a direct response to the 1994 version of the law. NCLB transformed a weak, state-driven system of standards-based accountability into a centralized, more coherent, federally driven version. Unlike previous federal efforts, it combined specific performance goals for all students and high-stakes consequences for schools and districts for failing to meet those goals. Specifically, NCLB required:

  • State adoption of academic standards in math, reading, and science.
  • Annual statewide math and reading tests in grades 3–8, grade-span assessments in science, and English proficiency testing for English language learners (ELLs).
  • Annual performance targets for districts and schools (adequate yearly progress) (AYP), building to a goal of 100 percent student proficiency by 2014.
  • Specific interventions for Title I schools5 that failed to meet AYP each year up to and including complete overhaul of school staffing and management (Figure 1).
  • Public school choice options and mandatory supplemental education services for students assigned to low-performing schools.

Figure 1. The Timeline of Interventions for Low-Performing Schools under NCLB

Figure 1: The Timeline of Interventions for Low-Performing Schools under NCLB

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Additionally, NCLB focused unprecedented attention on struggling students and low-performing schools, and states began to collect important new data to track progress. Test results were disaggregated by key student subgroups, such as ELLs and low-income students, and accountability targets were applied to these subpopulations within schools. Evidence of achievement gaps could no longer be masked by average student performance data.

But after more than a decade under NCLB, schools hadn’t reached the law’s goal of universal proficiency by 2014, and even many supporters of standards-based reform no longer believed it to be the best vehicle to drive those changes.6 NCLB produced many positive outcomes: Student performance in elementary and middle school, especially in math, improved modestly in the years after NCLB was first implemented. High school graduation rates are at an all-time high at over 80 percent (see Chapter 1: Student Achievement).7 8 9 Research on NCLB’s accountability provisions has shown modest effects on school performance, particularly in schools seeking to avoid a first year of missing AYP or in schools facing the severest penalties.10 Despite this progress, however, high school test scores are flat, achievement gaps persist, and many low-performing schools are not improving. But just as states developed and tested new solutions 30 years ago for the problems identified in A Nation at Risk, states are again at the fore of a new wave of education reform to address these persistent challenges.

SIDEBAR: Non-Tested Subjects: Evidence of Curriculum Narrowing

NCLB’s accountability structures sent a signal that math and reading performance were especially important. Some evidence suggests that this pressure, coupled with the reality of operating a school or district on a limited budget, meant educators often began to focus more time on those tested subjects at the expense of others, like social studies, science, and the arts—a logical response to the incentives created by the accountability system and tough budget choices.

Read more.

NCLB Waivers: States Experiment with New Approaches

If the federal government was the primary driver of education policy in the early 2000s, states reemerged as a dominant player in recent years leading up to the enactment of ESSA, driving the structure of the post-NCLB iteration of standards-based reform. This shift played out in two state-driven reform efforts: the Common Core State Standards and waivers from NCLB. In a seeming contradiction, on the one hand, states moved toward more uniformity in standards and assessments. On the other hand, waivers increased the variation in how states use those standards and assessments to hold schools accountable.

The changing policy dynamic meant states could experiment with a variety of strategies to improve their education systems and outcomes. That flexibility carried forth in the structure of ESSA, and states are now submitting plans for their own accountability system designs. The tradeoff of innovation and flexibility is risk that some state experiments may fail.  If they do, that failure could exacerbate educational inequity — driving increased variance in the quality of education across state lines.

The Common Core State Standards

Under both the IASA and NCLB, each state wrote its own academic standards and developed its own tests, leading to wide variation in content and rigor.11 But with the global economy growing increasingly competitive and connected, two-thirds of jobs will require at least some college training by 2020.12 State leaders, acknowledging this economic reality, began to recognize that schools needed to expect more of students for them to succeed and that these expectations need not be dramatically different among states.13

As a result, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) joined in a voluntary effort to develop shared academic standards. After years of collaboration among state leaders, educators, nonprofits, and content experts, the final draft of the Common Core State Standards was released in 2010.14 These standards reflected a consensus across 48 states for what students need to know in both English language arts and mathematics to be prepared for postsecondary education and workforce training.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition helped spur adoption, and by the fall of 2011, 45 states and Washington, D.C. had officially adopted the Common Core.15

With Common Core as the backbone of a new generation of standards-based reform, states have also had the opportunity to redesign their assessments. Two consortia of states emerging from a $350 million U.S. Department of Education competition — the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) — developed new, shared assessments aligned to the common standards.16

Common Criticisms of Common Standards and Assessments

Concerns about the content of the standards and their associated assessments have driven fierce debate in the education sector and on the nation’s political stages, though in reality, the Common Core State Standards remain in place in most states (Figure 2).17 While criticisms vary in substance and tone, those focused directly on the standards include:

  • the exclusion of certain content in the Common Core standards, like calculus in high school or cursive writing in elementary grades;18
  • the difficulty of finding readily available, high-quality instructional materials and curricula that are aligned to the Common Core standards; 19
  • insufficient training for teachers as standards have been implemented; and
  • worry that, despite the fact that the Common Core is voluntary, their adoption represents too much involvement from the federal government and that common standards will lead to a de facto national curriculum.20 21

In addition to criticisms around the Common Core standards themselves, the implementation of new assessment regimes aligned to the Common Core has also driven a range of criticisms. Some of the more frequent include:

  • the increased technological requirements and cost of transitioning to online assessments, required by both testing consortia;22
  • the amount of time students spend preparing for and taking Common Core tests and the influence assessment has on instruction and high-stakes accountability policies;23
  • the pace of implementation of the Common Core standards and assessment and related high-stakes accountability policies, like teacher evaluations, that could be tied to Common Core-aligned tests;24 and
  • the use (and possible misuse) of new assessments and student data by the federal government and/or private entities that supported Common Core or related initiatives.25

Some of the specific criticisms levied at Common Core-related assessments are part and parcel of more global debate regarding assessments and their use more generally. Concerns include the effect of testing on students and instruction, citing impacts on instructional time and focus as well as test-related stress and the psychological impact on children. Debate extends to how test data can and should be used in terms of accountability for schools and school personnel, particularly the inclusion of standardized test results as a factor in teacher evaluations, and regarding the use and protection of student data.

Anti-testing sentiments, reflected in these debates, have given rise to the “Opt-out Movement” in which students opt not to take required assessments (see sidebar The Opt-out Movement) and policy debates regarding caps on time in testing, including a call from the Obama administration to cap testing to no more than 2 percent of instructional time.26

SIDEBAR: The Opt-Out Movement

During the 2014-15 school year, the controversial rollout of the Common Core Standards and corresponding assessments, led to numerous press accounts detailing the threat of growing numbers of students opting out. Early anecdotal reports from schools and districts suggest a wide disparity in opt out rates among states and districts.

Read more.

Common Core Standards Implementation: Curriculum and Teacher Professional Development

As was the case before the development of the Common Core standards, leaders in districts and schools choose the resources that educators use to teach to the standards. Very little system-wide information exists about how and where districts purchase curricular materials. In fact, in every state except one, it is impossible to find out what materials districts are currently using without contacting the districts individually.27

Teachers consistently rank Common Core-aligned instructional materials as a top priority among supports and resources critical to ensuring successful implementation of the standards.28 But the availability of high-quality Common Core-aligned materials has been lacking. With the rollout of the Common Core standards, K-12 publishers took advantage of the fact that new standards would require new or at least updated materials. But many publishers labeled materials “Common Core-aligned” without external vetting, calling into question the quality and true alignment of materials. A study of a widely used math textbook series found that none of the series covered 100 percent of on-grade Common Core standards, and some were virtually identical to their pre-Common Core versions.29 30

To address the significant challenge of the absence of externally vetted, high-quality Common Core materials, districts and teachers are developing aligned curricular materials locally.31 While many districts report challenges associated with developing aligned curriculum, many also report positive responses from teachers involved in creating curricular materials. For instance, due to their interaction with the standards and curriculum, teachers have reported feeling more engaged in their instruction than they were in the past with pre-developed resources made by publishers or district-level staff.32

States and districts face similar challenges with delivering quality Common Core-aligned professional development as they do in creating curricular materials. While districts report that the vast majority of teachers receive professional development related to the Common Core, only one-third of districts say teachers are prepared to teach the standards. Also similar to the way local educators have responded to the need for curriculum development, large proportions of districts report that teachers themselves are developing and providing Common Core-aligned professional development.33

Though many states and districts have responded to these challenges, these struggles have implications for the perception and reality of the implementation of the standards themselves, and particularly for the assessments and accountability structures tied to the Common Core standards.

The Status of the Common Core Standards and Testing Consortia

Concerns around the standards, testing, and related issues have spurred some states to “rebrand” the standards or modify them slightly to address local priorities.34 35 Other states have gone further, opening the Common Core up for review by task forces, rewriting the standards, or repealing them outright.36

To date, of the forty-five states that initially adopted the standards, only Indiana, Oklahoma, and South Carolina have actually repealed the Common Core — joining Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia as non-Common Core states.37 38 But as Figure 2 shows, the status of the Common Core in the remaining states may still shift. Some states’ efforts to change the standards have been modest, while others initiated more comprehensive Common Core review processes in the middle of implementation.39 It remains unclear whether significant changes to the standards after they are reviewed are imminent.

Figure 2. The Status of the Common Core State Standards

Figure 2: The Status of the Common Core State Standards

Source: Data collected by authors from various sources, including state agency web sites, official press releases, and other public documents. 40

Despite political turmoil regarding the standards, the implementation of Common Core is well underway, and states are administering new assessments that align to their updated standards. The 2014–15 school year marked the first time that all participating states administered updated assessments. However, at least 10 states are already transitioning to new tests for the 2015–16 school year and beyond.41 Earlier in their development, every state that had adopted Common Core was also involved in some way with one of these groups.42 But concerns with Common Core-related assessments — and over-testing of students more broadly — have led some states to reassess their testing policies and reconsider their participation in PARCC and SBAC (Figure 3).43 44 45

Figure 3. The Status of Common Assessments Aligned to the Common Core Standards

 

Robertson_Account_Fig3_final

Source: Education Commission of the States 46

Waivers From No Child Left Behind

Since NCLB was enacted, states began taking independent steps that address its many criticisms. For instance, some states began using measures of student growth to replace the proficiency rate-based measures required by NCLB. Other states developed their own accountability practices beyond those required by NCLB. These systems drew on additional performance measures and often included more intuitive ratings categories, like A–F grades for schools. These state-level developments, however, were at odds with the federal law, and each year Congress failed to rewrite NCLB created greater friction between state reforms and federal requirements. Increasingly, NCLB was seen as a barrier to positive change.

Given the lack of Congressional action and recognizing the promising policies states were pursuing on their own, in 2011, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan began granting waivers to provide states relief from some of the federal requirements that were most at odds with current knowledge and practice.47

What was ESEA Flexibility?

Unlike waivers offered during earlier administrations, which tended to be either state-initiated or more limited in scope, Secretary Duncan offered “ESEA Flexibility” across multiple areas of the law, specified what states needed to do to secure these waivers, and made the offer conditional on meeting all of the broad principles the Department identified:48

  • College- and career-ready expectations for all students,
  • State-developed differentiated recognition, accountability, and support,
  • Supporting effective instruction and leadership, and
  • Reducing duplication and unnecessary burden.

To qualify for flexibility, states were required to submit plans for adhering to certain parameters under each of these broad principles. Within this guidance, ESEA Flexibility still contained room for states to innovate and make choices suited to state context and policy preferences. For example, states could choose to adopt the Common Core standards or develop their own college- and career-ready standards in cooperation with their state institutions of higher education. Likewise, states could propose the measures, component weights, and labels within their new accountability systems — some went with A–F school grades, while others kept a system of performance targets similar to NCLB, developed a point system for ranking schools, or created other approaches. Teacher evaluations had to feature student achievement measures for evaluation purposes, but states could select what measures to include and how much weight to give them.

In exchange, states could be exempt from some of the most prominent NCLB requirements, including provisions related to the 100 percent proficiency target, AYP requirements, and the identification of and interventions for low-performing schools (see sidebar Key Provisions Waived Under ESEA Flexibility). Further, ESEA Flexibility loosened restrictions on the allowable use of certain federal grant funds.49

SIDEBAR: Key Provisions Waived Under ESEA Flexibility

  • 100 Percent Proficiency. States with Flexibility are exempt from NCLB’s required 100 percent proficiency in reading and math by 2014 if they adopt more rigorous college- and career-ready standards and tests and if they create new annual goals for schools.
  • Adequate Yearly Progress. States are exempt from making AYP designations each year if they create new rating systems to hold schools accountable for their performance.
  • Identifying Low-Performing Schools and the Title I Set Aside. Waivers allow states to limit the number of schools identified as low-performing to 15 percent of Title I schools each year, and exempt districts from the NCLB requirement that 20 percent of Title I funding be used for school choice and tutoring programs for schools in improvement. In turn, states must increase the intensity and rigor of interventions given to the more limited number of schools identified as low-performing. Waiver states must also implement new school rating systems that provide more nuanced information about the performance and progress of all schools to parents and the public.

ESEA Flexibility and Implications for the Evolution of Accountability

Nearly every state in the country applied for Secretary Duncan’s ESEA Flexibility offer, and most ultimately secured waivers. And although all but a handful of states operated under a waiver as of the 2015­–16 school year, the enactment of ESSA meant that all ESEA waivers expired in August 2016.50 Under waivers, states were empowered to make policy choices altering how accountability works for schools. And state policies adopted under waivers may preview what states will pursue as ESSA is implemented, with its increased shift of design authority to the state level.

Based on an analysis of states’ waiver requests, 51common accountability system changes under waivers included:

Figure 4. The Status of ESEA Flexibility

Figure 4. The Status of ESEA Flexibility

Source: Data collected by the authors from the U.S. Department of Education’s ESEA Flexibility website and augmented by media reports. 52

New annual performance goals for students and schools. Under waivers states could choose among three performance target structures: extending the 100 percent proficiency goal, cutting achievement gaps in half in a specified time period, or defining a state-specified option representing ambitious, but achievable goals. Only Texas opted to extend NCLB’s 100 percent proficiency deadline to a later date when setting goals in their waiver plans; other states designed different options (Figure 5). The most common choice, adopted by 18 states and the District of Columbia, was to set goals to cut achievement gaps between student subgroups. The remaining waiver states created different kinds of performance targets based on student proficiency rates, growth measures, graduation rates, other gap-closing measures, or other data.

Figure 5. Annual School Performance Targets under NCLB Waivers

 Annual School Performance Target StructuresBeyond Reading and MathA to F School Rating
State100% Proficiency GoalAchievement Gap Cut In HalfOther State-defined TargetsAdditional Subject TestsA to F School Rating Systems
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California: No NCLB Waiver
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa: No NCLB Waiver
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana: No NCLB Waiver
Nebraska: No NCLB Waiver
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota: No NCLB Waiver
Ohio
Oklahoma???
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont: No NCLB Waiver
Virginia
Washington: No NCLB Waiver
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming: No NCLB Waiver

Source: Data collected by authors from state waiver requests.

Figure 6. Annual School Performance Targets under NCLB Waivers

 New Measures of School Quality In
State Accountability Systems
StateCollege-Ready IndicatorsCareer-Ready IndicatorsEnglish-language AcquisitionSchool Culture and Climate MeasuresEarly Literacy
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California: No NCLB Waiver
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa: No NCLB Waiver
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana: No NCLB Waiver
Nebraska: No NCLB Waiver
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota: No NCLB Waiver
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont: No NCLB Waiver
Virginia
Washington: No NCLB Waiver
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming: No NCLB Waiver

Source: Data collected by authors from state waiver requests.

Figure 7. Annual School Performance Targets under NCLB Waivers

 Super-Subgroups in State Accountability Systems
StateNo Super-SubgroupsBased on Student AchievementBased on Student DemographicsBased on Group Size or Other Factors
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California: No NCLB Waiver
Colorado
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa: No NCLB Waiver
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana: No NCLB Waiver
Nebraska: No NCLB Waiver
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota: No NCLB Waiver
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont: No NCLB Waiver
Virginia
Washington: No NCLB Waiver
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming: No NCLB Waiver

Source: Data collected by authors from state waiver requests.

New Measures of School Performance. While all waiver states were required at a minimum to use measures of student proficiency, graduation rates, and school progress in some way, states could elect to use other data for accountability as well. Many states incorporated entirely new measures into their school ratings (Figure 6); common additions included:

  • college-ready and career-ready indicators for high schools;
  • English language acquisition or other measures to track the progress of current and former ELL students; and
  • measures of school culture and climate such as chronic absenteeism, suspension rates, program reviews, climate surveys, or locally developed indicators.

One state, Ohio, incorporated early literacy data for grades K–2 into its accountability system.

Measures of Student Performance in Subjects Other than Math and Reading. As of 2015, 17 states chose to include student test scores in subjects like writing, science, social studies, and civics as part of state accountability systems (Figure 5).

Redefining Student Subgroups for School Accountability. Under waivers, states had to continue reporting disaggregated data for all subgroups indicated in NCLB to the federal government. But in evaluating school and district performance, states could use new kinds of “super-subgroups” rather than evaluating schools based on the performance of every student subgroup identified in NCLB. This strategy might make sense where the population of an NCLB subgroup served is very small. States could also create entirely new groupings of students based on performance rather than demographic characteristics (e.g., the lowest performing quartile of students in a school, or academically gifted students). As Figure 7 shows, through their most recent waivers, 29 states created some kind of super-subgroup — although its purpose and weight within the overall accountability system varies.

Super-subgroups were particularly controversial, especially within the civil rights community.53 54 55 Critics worried that they reduce emphasis on the performance of minority or low-income students and that some schools with low-performing students could go unidentified. They argued that by combining individual subgroups, the performance of some students within the super-subgroup could mask the lower performance of other groups.56And these arguments ultimately held sway in the ESEA reauthorization debate resulting in the maintenance of requirements for disaggregating student performance by student subgroup in federal reporting under ESSA.57

New Labels to Indicate School Performance: A to F. All waiver states had to identify low-performing schools as “priority” or “focus” schools for federal accountability purposes, but these federal distinctions didn’t have to translate to state school ratings systems. States had discretion in how they indicated performance of schools for purposes of state accountability. A-F school grading systems were one of the more common kinds of rating systems approved as part of states’ waiver requests. First enacted in 1999 in Florida, this particular approach has become popular as a more intuitive kind of accountability structure for families and communities. Fourteen states currently operate A-F grading systems for schools (Figure 5).

The Impact of ESEA Flexibility: The Shift to Relative Accountability

The biggest policy shift under ESEA Flexibility was the manner in which low-performing schools were identified and treated. Under NCLB, any Title I school that failed to make AYP for a set number of years faced consequences without exception. But under waivers, sanctions were reserved for a percentage of Title I schools, capping the number of schools that must be identified for intervention.

All waiver states had to identify the 5 percent of all Title I schools demonstrating the lowest achievement and progress over time for all students as “priority” schools. Additionally, waiver states had to identify the 10 percent of Title I schools demonstrating the largest achievement gaps or lowest achievement for student subgroups as “focus” schools. High schools with persistently low graduation rates also had to be included in one of the two groups. States could opt to identify more schools in either category beyond the required 15 percent.

Under NCLB, the number of schools identified as needing improvement had increased each year as performance targets crept nearer to 100 percent proficiency. But as states began operating under the 15 percent “priority” and “focus” school structure under waivers, the number of identified schools dropped significantly. As Figure 8 shows, across all of the states with waivers in 2012–13, the number of identified schools decreased. This decrease was partially offset by the number of schools identified as low performing in states without waivers, but with waiver states in the majority, their impact drives the national trend — a net 14 percent decline nationwide (Figure 9).

Figure 8. The Number of Low-Performing Schools in Waiver and Non-Waiver States, 2005-06 to 2012-13

Source: U.S. Department of Education 58

 

Figure 9. The Percent Change in the Number of Identified Low-Performing Schools in Waiver States, 2011-12 to 2012-13

Source: U.S. Department of Education 58

Most noteworthy is that the decrease in the number of schools needing improvement in waiver states nearly uniformly reflects a shift to the suggested 15 percent cap on identified schools, which does not reflect real change in school performance (Figure 10). In other words, the cap is driving the identification of low-performing schools — not actual student performance. With a similar structure for identifying low-performing schools reflected in ESSA, this trend likely previews what will occur under the new law.

Figure 10. The Percentage of Title I Schools Identified as Low-Performing, 2011-12 to 2012-13

States with WaiversPercentage of Title I Schools In ImprovementStates without WaiversPercentage of Title I Schools In Improvement
2011-122012-132011-122012-13
Arizona19.9%10.4%Alabama14.7%14.9%
Arkansas35.8%15.7%Alaska17.0%22.6%
Colorado33.6%14.0%California45.1%67.1%
Connecticut39.6%14.5%Hawaii52.5%55.3%
Delaware17.4%11.5%Illinois37.8%45.4%
District of Columbia83.5%26.7%Iowa15.1%20.3%
Florida53.0%13.1%Maine18.4%22.3%
Georgia14.7%Montana23.5%25.0%
Idaho23.2%10.7%Nebraska4.3%20.7%
Indiana15.4%17.9%New Hampshire42.0%42.2%
Kansas3.3%9.3%North Dakota26.4%40.0%
Kentucky22.6%28.2%Pennsylvania13.7%15.8%
Louisiana3.2%16.8%Texas3.5%16.4%
Maryland38.2%16.1%Vermont37.7%65.6%
Massachusetts71.5%31.2%West Virginia9.1%24.6%
Michigan5.1%19.8%Wyoming21.7%26.6%
Minnesota43.7%14.5%Median20.1%24.8%
Mississippi14.8%16.1%Mean23.9%32.8%
Missouri36.3%9.5%Standard Deviation0.14960.1754
Nevada19.3%
New Jersey43.6%15.1%
New Mexico60.6%12.0%
New York26.6%8.3%
North Carolina21.4%9.7%
Ohio29.1%13.2%
Oklahoma15.8%18.7%
Oregon13.8%16.0%
Rhode Island16.9%11.8%
South Carolina17.2%7.8%
South Dakota9.4%8.8%
Tennesee15.4%16.5%
Utah6.1%14.5%
Virginia27.4%14.5%
Washington29.9%8.7%
Wisconsin4.5%11.2%
Median22.6%14.5%
Mean27.2%14.8%
Standard Deviation0.19380.0544

Source: Data on the number of schools in improvement under NCLB and the number of priority and focus schools under ESEA Flexibility collected from http://eddateexpress.ed.gov/. Data on the number of Title I schools collected from the National Center for Education Statistics. 60 61

SIDEBAR: School Improvement Grants: Foreshadowing Outcomes in Priority Schools?

To date, little is known about school turnaround approaches in terms of both design variations across states and effectiveness, and the research base on turnaround is limited.  Ongoing evaluations of a related program — the School Improvement Grants (SIG) — could provide a preview of the outcomes likely to result from an evaluation of the turnaround principles at work in “priority” schools. That’s because the turnaround principles included in ESEA Flexibility build on the administration’s revision of the existing SIG program in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus package.

Read more.

School Improvement in Waivers: The Turnaround Approach

In addition to significantly altering the identification of low-performing schools, under waivers, states were required to adhere to certain principles when intervening in low-performing schools. NCLB had states apply a spectrum of improvement actions to a large number of schools failing to make AYP. In contrast, the approach under waivers, dubbed turnaround, was much more focused — applying only to the 5 percent of schools identified as “priority” schools and based on key principles outlined by the Department (see sidebar Turnaround Principles).62 Fewer schools were part of the effort, but in turn, the effort was much more intensive and required significant changes in school operations, culture, leadership, and practice.63 The hope was that a more disruptive and ambitious strategy will yield dramatic results: after three years, these schools would no longer be in the bottom 5 percent, and another group of schools could be identified to undergo turnaround.

SIDEBAR: Turnaround Principles

Every waiver state had to designate at least five percent of its lowest-performing and slowest-progressing Title I schools as “priority” schools to undergo an intervention designed to turnaround the school. These interventions had to align with key turnaround principles.

Read more.

ESEA Reauthorization Yields the Every Student Succeeds Act

The ESEA was first enacted in 1965 as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s “War on Poverty.” Since its initial passage, ESEA has been reauthorized seven times, most recently in 2001 as NCLB.64 That version of the bill was due to be reauthorized in 2007, but efforts to do so consistently failed until 2015, when the 114th Congress passed the ESSA and President Barack Obama signed the bill into law.

In January 2015, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) began considering bipartisan legislation to reauthorize ESEA. The bill – the Every Child Achieves Act – was ushered through the Committee by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) and was eventually passed by the full Senate in July 2015.65 At the same time, the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, led by Chairman John Kline (R-MN) approved House-crafted legislation – the Student Success Act – which was passed by the full House in July 2015 without a single Democrat vote.66

The conference committee process to reconcile the two bills commenced shortly before the 2015 August recess. In late November, the conference committee approved compromise legislation, the Every Student Succeeds Act, which was approved by both chambers in early December.67 68 69 On December 10th, President Obama signed the bill into law, marking the end of the NCLB era.70

ESSA is largely a departure from NCLB, returning much of the decision-making power on education policy to states.71 Similar to the Obama Administration’s ESEA waivers, ESSA eliminates the adequate yearly progress (AYP) requirement, as well as the 2014 proficiency target. However, unlike ESEA waivers, which gave states a choice of goals based on prescriptive federal guidance, ESSA allows states much more latitude in establishing their own goals. ESSA requires states to set a long-term goal and shorter-term, interim goals – which must in some way address proficiency rates on standardized tests, English-language proficiency, graduation rates, and achievement gaps – but states will operationalize the specific standards and metrics of the goals themselves.72

ESSA maintains the NCLB testing schedule, requiring states to test students in reading and math annually in grades three through eight and once in high school, using statewide common assessments. But ESSA also creates a pilot program allowing up to seven states to experiment with local assessments that could eventually be used statewide.73 As under NCLB, test results must be disaggregated and reported at the school level and by student subgroups, such as racial and ethnic groups, students designated as economically disadvantaged, and students with disabilities.

Additionally, ESSA requires that states adopt “challenging” academic standards, also a holdover from NCLB. But ESSA explicitly prohibits the U.S. Secretary of Education from requiring or encouraging specific standards.73

As was the case with NCLB, ESSA requires that schools test 95 percent of their students and student subgroups. However, failure to do so will no longer automatically earn schools a “failing” label. Instead, states have the authority to decide how to handle schools with low test participation rates and/or high opt-out rates.73

States are also given significant latitude in determining the structure of school accountability systems. For elementary and middle schools, ESSA requires that accountability systems include three academic indicators: proficiency on state assessments, English-language proficiency, and an additional indicator of the state’s choosing. Systems must also include at least one non-academic indicator – again, selected by the state – that focuses on learning opportunities, such as school climate, student engagement, or completion rates for advanced coursework. The requirements are essentially the same for high schools, except that states must use graduation rates as their third academic indicator, rather than choosing their own. The academic indicators must count much more in the determination of accountability ratings than the non-academic indicator(s), but states are allowed to determine the exact weight of each indicator.76

ESSA also provides states with more flexibility for intervening in low-performing schools. Similar to ESEA waivers, ESSA requires that states identify and intervene in the bottom five percent of schools and all high schools with a graduation rate below 67 percent. However, unlike waivers, districts decide what interventions to use. The state monitors intervention efforts and can step in if a low-performing school continues to struggle. States and districts must also identify schools where student subgroups are persistently low-performing. Those schools will implement a turnaround plan, which the district monitors, and ultimately the district can directly intervene if needed.77

ESSA diverges from both NCLB and ESEA waivers regarding teacher quality provisions by eliminating the federal role in teacher evaluation processes and the “highly qualified teacher” requirement. ESSA also includes Preschool Development Grants, which focus on improving quality and coordinating across early childhood education programs. This is the first time that preschool funding has been a part of the ESEA law.78

Implementation of ESSA is in progress. ESEA waivers remained in effect through August 1, 2016, and new accountability plans under ESSA take effect starting in the 2017–18 school year. The 2016–17 school year has been a transitional period. States are currently submitting plans for review by the Department, with the first wave submitted in spring 2017 and the second wave coming in September 2017. With the review of state plans underway, the content and implementation of the plans and the Department’s approach to review and oversight will dictate the impact of the newest evolution of school accountability. 79

Conclusion

The national policy landscape surrounding academic standards, assessments, accountability, and school improvement is in many respects more chaotic than ever as states transition away from strong federal systems and requirements under NCLB and once again take the lead role in defining and enforcing accountability measures for public schools. The majority of states have been experimenting with new standards-based accountability systems, featuring very different tactics, as part of their NCLB waivers, which could now be codified in new state systems through ESSA implementation. And other states will opt for entirely new structures.

Meanwhile, the Common Core standards, related assessments, and how they are used to hold schools and teachers accountable will remain a top education issue within statehouses around the country and will likely continue to echo through campaign rhetoric on national and state stages. While a full repeal of the standards remains rare, the staying power of the Common Core will continue to be tested as state task forces and review boards have the opportunity to chip away with potential changes, administrative roadblocks, or delays.

With the enactment of ESSA, states are now submitting new plans to govern accountability structures.  By design, under ESSA, the role of the federal government in education is greatly diminished, and states face critical and substantial policy decisions in framing school accountability and the academic standards and testing systems that underpin those structures.

  1. “A Nation at Risk,” National Commission on Excellence in Education, 1983, accessed February 8, 2015, https://www2.ed.gov/pubs/NatAtRisk/risk.html.
  2. Alyson Klein, “Historic Sit-Down Propelled National Drive for Standards-Based Accountability,” Education Week, September 23, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/09/24/05summit.h34.html.
  3. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) is the federal statute that governs the majority of federal policy and federal funding for public education. Since its original passage, it has been reauthorized under several names —recently as the Improving America’s Schools Act (IASA) of 1994 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). Though NCLB was due for reauthorization in 2007, Congress failed to act until 2015 when the current version, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law in December.
  4. Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, “Closing the Deal: A Preliminary Report on State Compliance with Final Assessment and Accountability Requirements under the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994” (Washington, D.C.: Citizens’ Commission on Civil Rights, 2001).
  5. Title I schools serve high proportions of economically disadvantaged students. The term comes from the eligibility of these schools for funding under Title I of the ESEA, which gives grants to provide supplemental education services to economically disadvantaged students. See the Financing Our Schools chapter of this report for more information.
  6. “Can School Performance Be Measured Fairly?,” New York Times, July 29, 2012, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/07/29/can-school-performance-be-measured-fairly.
  7. Emma Brown, “Nation’s High School Graduation Rate Ticks Up for Second Year in a Row,” Washington Post, February 12, 2015, accessed October 12, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/nations-high-school-graduation-rate-ticks-up-for-third-year-in-a-row/2015/02/12/3b2a0b1e-b2ce-11e4-886b-c22184f27c35_story.html.
  8. Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob, “Evaluating NCLB,” Education Next 10 (2010): accessed February 8, 2015, http://educationnext.org/evaluating-nclb/.
  9. Thomas Dee and Brian Jacob, “The Impact of No Child Left Behind on Student Achievement,” Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 30 (2011): 418–446, accessed February 8, 2015, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/pam.20586/abstract.
  10. Thomas Ahn and Jacob Vigdor, “The Impact of No Child Left Behind Accountability Sanctions on School Performance: Regression Discontinuity Evidence from North Carolina,” National Bureau of Economic Research, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.nber.org/papers/w20511.
  11. “Mapping State Proficiency Standards onto the NAEP Scale,” National Assessment on Educational Progress (2009): 1-15, accessed February 8, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pdf/studies/2011458.pdf.
  12. Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strolh, “Recovery-Job Growth and Education Requirement Through 2020,” Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (2013): accessed February 8, 2015, http://cew.georgetown.edu/recovery2020.
  13. David Hoff, “National Standards Gain Steam,” Education Week, March 2, 2009, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2009/03/04/23nga_ep.h28.html.
  14. “National Governors Association and State Education Chiefs Launch Common State Academic Standards,” Council of Chief State School Officers, June 2, 2010, accessed June 6, 2014, http://www.ccsso.org/News_and_Events/Press_Releases/NATIONAL_GOVERNORS_ASSOCIATION_AND_STATE_EDUCATION_CHIEFS_LAUNCH_COMMON_STATE_ACADEMIC_STANDARDS_.html.
  15. Catherine Gewertz, “Common-Standards Watch: Montana Makes 47,” Education Week, November 4, 2011, accessed February 8, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/curriculum/2011/11/common-standards_watch_montana.html.
  16. U.S. Department of Education. Race to the Top Assessment Program, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www2.ed.gov/programs/racetothetop-assessment/index.html.
  17. Juana Summers, “The Politics of The Common Core,” National Public Radio, June 20, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.npr.org/blogs/ed/2014/06/20/323677251/the-politics-of-the-common-core.
  18. John O’Connor, “Despite Changes, Florida Still Keeping the Core of Common Standards,” National Public Radio, January 14, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, https://stateimpact.npr.org/florida/2014/01/14/despite-changes-florida-still-keeping-the-core-of-common-standards/.
  19. Catherine Gewertz, “Teachers Say They Are Not Well-Prepared for Common Core,” Education Week, August 19, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/08/20/01teachers.h34.html.
  20. Amy Golod, “Common Core: Myths and Facts,” U.S. News & World Report, March 4, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.usnews.com/news/special-reports/a-guide-to-common-core/articles/2014/03/04/common-core-myths-and-facts.
  21. Stephanie Banchero, “Schools-Standards Pushback,” The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2012, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303630404577390431072241906.
  22. Sean Cavanagh, “Evaluating Schools’ Tech. Readiness for Common-Core Testing,” Education Week, March 10, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/13/25challenges.h33.html?intc=EW-TC14-TOC.
  23. Alyson Klein, “Push to Limit Federal Test Mandates Gain Steam,” Education Week, October 13, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/15/08testing.h34.html.
  24. Lyndsey Layton, “Gates Foundation urges delay in using tests for teacher evaluation,” The Washington Post, June 10, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/gates-foundation-urges-delay-in-using-tests-for-teacher-evaluation/2014/06/10/d037c7fa-f0e1-11e3-914c-1fbd0614e2d4_story.html.
  25. Tim Murphy, “Inside the Mammoth Backlash to Common Core,” Mother Jones, September/October 2014 Issue, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/09/common-core-education-reform-backlash-obamacare.
  26. Kate Zernike, “Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools,” New York Times, October 24, 2015, Accessed November 19, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/10/25/us/obama-administration-calls-for-limits-on-testing-in-schools.html?_r=0.
  27. Matthew M. Chingos and Grover J. “Russ” Whitehurst, “Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness and the Common Core,” Brookings Institution (2012), accessed July 15, 2015, http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/research/files/reports/2012/4/10%20curriculum%20chingos%20whitehurst/0410_curriculum_chingos_whitehurst.pdf
  28. Scholastic and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, “America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change: Teachers’ Views on Common Core One Year Later,” accessed March 11, 2016,  http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/teachers-on-the-common-core.htm.
  29. Cory Turner “The Common Core Curriculum Void,” National Public Radio, June 3, 2014, accessed June 29, 2015: http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/06/03/318228023/the-common-core-curriculum-void
  30. Benjamin Herold and Michele Molnar, “Research Questions Common Core Claims by Publishers,” Education Week, March 3, 2014, accessed July 20, 2015: http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/03/05/23textbooks_ep.h33.html
  31. Diane Stark Rentner and Nancy Kober, “Common Core State Standards in 2014: Curriculum and Professional Development at the District Level,” Center for Education Policy, accessed March 11, 2016, http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=441#sthash.9ABu3EeY.dpuf
  32. Andrew Amore, Nichole Hoeflich, and Kaitlin Pennington, “Teacher Leadership: The Pathway to Common Core Success,” Center for American Progress (2015) https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CCTeacherVoiceFinal.pdf
  33. Diane Stark Rentner and Nancy Kober, “Common Core State Standards in 2014: Curriculum and Professional Development at the District Level,” Center for Education Policy, accessed March 11, 2016,  http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?DocumentID=441#sthash.9ABu3EeY.dpuf
  34. Lyndsey Layton, “Some states rebrand controversial Common Core education standards,” The Washington Post, January 30, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/some-states-rebrand-controversial-common-core-education-standards/2014/01/30/a235843e-7ef7-11e3-9556-4a4bf7bcbd84_story.html.
  35. John Kendall, Susan Ryan, Alan Alpert, Amy Richardson, and Amitra Schwols, “State Adoption of the Common Core State Standards,” Institute for Education Sciences (2012): 3-15, accessed March 11, 2016, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544664.pdf.
  36. Beth Reinhard, “Common Core Becomes Touching Subject for Governors Group,” The Wall Street Journal, July 11, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://online.wsj.com/articles/common-core-becomes-touchy-subject-for-governors-group-1405120293.
  37. Minnesota adopted the Common Core standards in English Language Arts only.
  38. Andrew Ujifusa, “A ‘Common-Core Math’ Problem: How Many States Have Adopted the Standards?” Education Week, June 30, 2015, accessed October 13, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/2015/06/a_common_core_math_problem_how_many_states_have_adopted_the_standards.html
  39. John Kendall, Susan Ryan, Alan Alpert, Amy Richardson, and Amitra Schwols, “State Adoption of the Common Core State Standards,” Institute for Education Sciences (2012): 3-12, accessed March 11, 2016, http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED544664.pdf.
  40. John Kendall, Susan Ryan, Alan Alpert, Amy Richardson, and Amitra Schwols, “State Adoption of the Common Core Standards,” Institute for Education Sciences (2012), accessed February 8, 2015,  http://www.mcrel.org/~/media/Files/McREL/Homepage/Products/01_99/prod17_15PercentRule.ashx.
  41. Notes: Data collected by the authors from state education agency websites, official press releases, media reports, and other public sources.
  42. Catherine Gewertz and Andrew Ujifusa, “National Landscape Fragments as State Plan Common-Core Testing,” Education Week, May 20, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/05/21/32assessment_ep.h33.html.
  43. Alexandria Neason, “The ‘Common’ in Common Core Fractures as State Support Falters,” Hechinger Report, June 18, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://hechingerreport.org/content/common-common-core-fractures-state-support-falters_16420/.
  44. Stephanie Simon and Caitlin Emma, “New Twist in Common Core Wars,” Politico, July 2, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/common-core-test-anxiety-108527.html.
  45. Sean Cavanagh, “Common-Core Testing Contracts Favor Big Vendors,” Education Week, September 30, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2014/10/01/06contract.h34.html.
  46. Julie Rowland Woods, “State Summative Assessments: 2015–16 School Year,” Education Commission of the States, November 2015, accessed November 13, 2014, http://www.ecs.org/clearinghouse/01/21/41/12141.pdf.
  47. Arne Duncan, “Letters from the Education Secretary or Deputy Secretary,” U.S. Department of Education, September 23, 2011, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/secletter/110923.html.
  48. For example, during the Bush administration, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings offered two pilot programs for states using NCLB’s waiver authority: one to test growth models and incorporate them into AYP determinations, and one to test differentiated accountability systems, where states could experiment with new interventions for low-performing schools beyond those identified in law. States could apply for one, or both, efforts. By contrast, in the current ESEA Flexibility program, states must submit waiver requests that address all of the principles identified by Secretary Duncan.
  49. U.S. Department of Education, ESEA Flexibility, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.ed.gov/esea/flexibility/documents/esea-flexibility-acc.doc.
  50. Alyson Klein, “Ed. Dept. Sketches Out Transition to ESSA from NCLB, Previews Regulation.” Education Week, December 18, 2015, accessed February 2, 2016, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/12/ed_dept_sketches_out_transitio.html.
  51. Data collected by the authors from state waiver requests, which can be downloaded from http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html. These data were augmented by state education agency websites, official press releases, media reports, and other public reports.
  52.  “ESEA Flexibility,” U.S. Department of Education, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/esea-flexibility/index.html.
  53. Michele McNeil, “Ed. Trust Slams NCLB Waivers for Neglecting At-Risk Students,” Education Week, February 7, 2013, accessed February 8, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2013/02/ed_trust_slams_nclb_waivers_fo.html.
  54. Alyson Klein, “High School Equity Advocates Express Concerns About NCLB Waivers,” Education Week, July 11, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2014/07/high_school_equity_advocates_e.html.
  55. Congress of the United States, “Letter to Secretary Arne Duncan,” February 12, 2014, accessed February 8, 2015, http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/documents/2.12.14-GMTriCaucusWaiverLettertoED.pdf.
  56. Daria Hall, “A Step Forward or a Step Back,” The Education Trust 2013, accessed February 8, 2015, http://www.edtrust.org/sites/edtrust.org/files/A_Step_Forward_Or_A_Step_Back.pdf.
  57. Alyson Klein, “ESEA Reauthorization: the Every Student Succeeds Act Explained,” Education Week, November 30, 2015, accessed March 9, 2016, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/esea_reauthorization_the_every.html.
  58. “ED Data Express,” U.S. Department of Education, accessed February 8, 2015, http://eddataexpress.ed.gov/.
  59. “ED Data Express,” U.S. Department of Education, accessed February 8, 2015, http://eddataexpress.ed.gov/.
  60. Patrick Keaton, “Selected Statistics from the Common Core of Data,” National Center for Education Statistics (2013), accessed February 8, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013441.pdf
  61. Patrick Keaton, “Selected Statistics from the Common Core of Data,” National Center for Education Statistics (2014), accessed February 8, 2015, http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2013/2013441.pdf
  62. U.S. Department of Education, A Blueprint for Reform, (2010): 10, accessed February 8, 2015, https://www2.ed.gov/policy/elsec/leg/blueprint/blueprint.pdf.
  63. “Case Studies of Schools Receiving School Improvement Grants,” Institute of Education Sciences (2014): iii, accessed February 8, 2015, http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pubs/20144015/pdf/20144015.pdf.
  64. “The ABC’s of ESEA and No Child Left Behind,” Education Post, accessed November 6, 2015, http://educationpost.org/issues/taking-responsibility/esea-reauthorization/abcs-esea-child-left-behind/.
  65. Lauren Camera, “Senate Passes ESEA Rewrite with Big Bipartisan Backing, 81-17,” Politics K-12 (blog), Education Week, July 16, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/07/senate_passes_esea_rewrite_wit.html.
  66. Lauren Camera, “House Passes ESEA Rewrite 218-213; Senate Debate Continues,” Politics K-12 (blog), Education Week, July 8, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/07/House_passes_ESEA_rewrite.html.
  67. Alyson Klein, “House, Senate ESEA Compromise Sails through Conference Committee,” Politics K-12 (blog), Education Week, November 19, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/_after_more_than_a.html.
  68. Lyndsey Layton, “House Leaves ‘No Child’ Education Law Behind,” The Washington Post, December 2, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/house-leaves-no-child-education-law-behind/2015/12/02/8e7290d6-990d-11e5-8917-653b65c809eb_story.html.
  69. Lyndsey Layton, “Senate Overwhelmingly Passes New National Education Legislation,” The Washington Post, December 9, 2015, https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/senate-overwhelmingly-passes-new-national-education-legislation/2015/12/09/be1b1f94-9d2a-11e5-a3c5-c77f2cc5a43c_story.html.
  70. Alyson Klein, “President Signs ESEA Rewrite, Giving States, Districts Bigger Say on Policy,” Politics K-12 (blog), Education Week, December 10, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/12/president_barack_obama_signs_e.html.
  71. Alyson Klein, “Under ESSA, States, Districts to Share More Power,” Education Week, January 5, 2015, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/06/under-essa-states-districts-to-share-more.html.
  72. Alyson Klein, “ESEA Reauthorization: The Every Student Succeeds Act Explained,” Politics K-12 (blog), Education Week, November 30, 2015, http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2015/11/esea_reauthorization_the_every.html.
  73. Ibid.
  74. Ibid.
  75. Ibid.
  76. Evie Blad, “ESSA Law Broadens Definition of School Success,” Education Week, January 5, 2016, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/06/essa-law-broadens-definition-of-school-success.html.
  77. Daarel Burnette II, “States, Districts to Call Shots on Turnarounds under ESSA,” Education Week, January 5, 2016, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/06/states-districts-to-call-shots-on-turnarounds.html.
  78. Klein, “ESEA Reauthorization: The Every Student Succeeds Act Explained.”
  79. Alyson Klein, “ESSA Regulatory Machinery Starting to Crank Up,” Education Week, January 5, 2016, http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2016/01/06/essa-regulatory-machinery-starting-to-crank-up.html.