Under the new Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have more flexibility in reporting, goal setting, and identifying struggling schools, reported the Concord Monitor. The ESSA replaced No Child Left Behind, and New Hampshire has released its draft plan to the public for feedback (due Friday, June 23):
ESSA doesn’t actually change how often schools must administer standardized tests. Annual testing is still required in third through eighth grades, and once in high school. But it does allow states more flexibility in deciding what schools need to report, what the goals are, and how schools get flagged as struggling.
“The opportunity comes in developing an accountability system that can include growth, that can include measures outside of proficiency, to make sure that we’re looking holistically at students,” said Heather Gage, the director of educational improvement at the state Department of Education.
Melissa Turner, from the National Center for Learning Disabilities, gave feedback on the draft plan:
She lauded New Hampshire for its work on personalized learning and universal design for learning – evidence-based practices – which have been shown to improve outcomes for all students, but especially for students with disabilities.
But she criticized the plan for setting proficiency goals that were “significantly lower for students with disabilities.” And she worried that the state’s plan made it too hard to identify a school for TSI.
“There’s just a lot of hoops before you’d get identified for support,” she said. “Really, what we’d like is a more agile system.”
Listen to Reaching Higher NH’s podcast on the state’s draft plan here.