Skip to content
Aurora Institute

iNACOL Joins 24 Groups in Applauding Congressional Efforts to Align Federal K-12 Education Law to Personalized, Competency-Based Learning

Education Domain Blog

Author(s): Susan Patrick, Maria Worthen

Issue(s): Federal Policy, Harness Opportunities in ESSA

Today, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and 24 other national, state, and local education groups sent a letter to House and Senate Education Committee leaders, Senators Alexander and Murray, and Representatives Kline and Scott applauding the Conference Committee for approving a compromise agreement to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which strengthens assessment provisions. The final bill language subject to vote includes significant changes to assessments that will open opportunities for competency education and personalized learning.

Last week, the United States Congress made history when the House-Senate ESEA Conference Committee struck a nearly unanimous (39-1) agreement to reauthorize ESEA, which would replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Congress released the final bill language on November 30, 2015.

The final bill language makes changes to the federal requirements on state systems of assessments, which would remove federal policy barriers to competency education and personalized learning. Specifically, the bill allows all state systems of assessments to measure individual student growth; use multiple measures of student learning from multiple points in time to determine summative scores; and use adaptive assessments that can measure students where they are in their learning.

The final bill language also establishes an Innovative Assessment Pilot program, which will provide states with a clear path forward for the development and approval of new systems of assessments that better align to competency-based, personalized learning. Last spring, 23 organizations signed a coalition letter supporting the inclusion of this pilot.

iNACOL President and CEO Susan Patrick, along with Vice President for Federal and State Policy Maria Worthen, released the following statement:

“The House-Senate Conference Committee should be applauded for their efforts and shared commitment to do what’s best for kids. The inclusion of the innovative assessment pilot language and policy changes to state systems of assessments will provide a clear path forward for approving state assessments while also ensuring rigor and quality. iNACOL supports the congressional effort to reauthorize ESEA and open opportunities for personalized, competency-based education so that each student has access to a world-class education.”

Last week, iNACOL issued a statement applauding Congress’s bipartisan effort to move ESEA forward. Learn more about iNACOL’s recommendations for ESEA reauthorization in the recently released iNACOL Federal Policy Frameworks 2015 and A K-12 Federal Policy Framework for Competency Education: Building Capacity for Systems Change.