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Aurora Institute

Department of Education Proposes New Rules for ESSA’s Innovative Assessment Pilot

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

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

essaThis post also appeared at iNACOL

This morning, the US Department of Education (ED) released proposed draft rules for state assessments as part of the continuing implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The December 2015 law allows states the flexibility to redesign their systems of assessments around student-centered learning.

In announcing the draft regulations, Secretary of Education John King said, “Our proposed regulations build on President [Barack] Obama’s plan to strike a balance around testing, providing additional support for states and districts to develop and use better, less burdensome assessments that give a more well-rounded picture of how students and schools are doing, while providing parents, teachers, and communities with critical information about students’ learning.”

When the law goes into effect, all states will be able to measure individual student growth, combine interim assessments to produce summative scores, and use adaptive assessments. ESSA also includes an Innovative Assessment Pilot that will allow up to seven states (initially) to pilot innovative systems of assessments with a subset of districts, or to provide local flexibility around the items and tasks they can use from the state system. The draft rules address both the general provisions on assessment and the pilot.

iNACOL advocated for the inclusion of the Innovative Assessment Pilot in ESSA, and has provided technical assistance and input to Congress and the Department of Education. The Pilot’s purpose is to make space for local and state innovation to create new systems of assessments that better support learning while maintaining a high bar for technical quality.

This is a historic time for states to take advantage of opportunities to rethink systems of assessmentsthat support personalized, competency-based learning. Over the next year, states will engage in critical design conversations as they craft a new vision for their education system under ESSA.

We are reviewing the draft rules and intend to submit comment to ED. We will continue to share any new information regarding ESSA implementation as it becomes available.

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