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Aurora Institute

Harness Opportunities in ESSA

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides states with flexibility and opportunities to transform K-12 education to meet the unique needs of each student.

Summary

ESSA gives states and localities flexibility to redefine student success and to work with communities on redesigning our education systems to be more flexible, responsive, and connected to the real world. The federal law enables state leaders to redesign systems of assessments, accountability models and educator preparation and development around student learning and equity. States now have opportunities to build education systems that prepare young people for success in postsecondary education, the workforce, and civil society.

Under ESSA, states can now rethink the purpose, role, and design of their accountability systems, reframing them for continuous improvement of student learning toward new, more meaningful definitions of success through data-rich learning environments. A new definition of success is crucial to drive coherent system improvements that are built around students—including instructional shifts, systems of assessments, expanded pathways, and better learning environments connected to communities and to the real world.

Recommendations

With new, broader definitions of student success, leaders should consider the following recommendations to transform education:

  • Rethink Accountability for Continuous Improvement
  • Transform Systems to Build Capacity for a Next Generation Educator and Leader Workforce
  • Create Personalized, Competency-Based Education Systems
  • Build New Learning Models Infrastructure
  • Create System Coherence and Build Capacity for the Long-Term
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