Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

Published: 8/20/2019 11:04 AM
In December 2015, Congress reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main federal law governing P-12 public education.  Known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), the measure replaced No Child Left Behind and created a long-term policy that gives states additional flexibility and provides more state and local control over the accountability process. 
Under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), state education agencies are required to submit a plan detailing the implementation of the law and how federal education dollars will be spent.
The Kentucky Department of Education submitted Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan to the U.S. Department of Education on September 18, 2017 and received approval from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos on May 7, 2018.
Kentucky's plan is grounded in a year-and-a-half of extensive outreach and engagement efforts with thousands of Kentuckians, including educators at all levels, families, businesses, education partners, policymakers and communities.
Kentucky’s Consolidated State Plan is designed to ensure that:
• resources are allocated to support the learning of all students;
• all students have access to rigorous academic standards, coursework and aligned assessments;
• all students have the opportunity for rich learning experiences and a well-rounded and supportive education including opportunities in career and technical education;
• the state’s accountability system moves away from a system of competition to one of collaboration among schools and districts, and away from a mentality of compliance in favor of a mindset that promotes continuous improvement;
• the school report card provides a more complete and transparent view of each school’s and district’s strengths and weaknesses; and
• support is provided to schools with low performance and very low-performing student groups.
ESSA provided an opportunity for Kentucky to create a new accountability system that will be used as the basis to better our schools and celebrate their educational progress. The goal is to produce a system that will improve the education and readiness of ALL Kentucky students and is fair, reliable and valid.
In Spring 2016, former Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt hosted a series of Education Town Hall Meetings to determine what Kentuckians value in their schools. This information guided the development of the new accountability system.
The Kentucky General Assembly provided further direction how the accountability system should work when it passed Senate Bill 1 (2017).
Under the system, schools will be evaluated on how well they perform on six indicators: Proficiency (reading/writing and mathematics), Separate Academic Indicator (science and social studies), Growth (elementary and middle school), Graduation Rate (high school),  Achievement Gap Closure, Transition Readiness and Opportunity and Access. Each indicator includes multiple measures. Some will be reported only; others will figure into a school’s overall accountability rating of from one to five stars.
In fall 2018, schools will be identified only for the federally-required accountability designations of Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) – those with one or more low-performing groups – and Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) – those in the bottom 5 percent by level (elementary, middle or high); or that have a 4-year graduation rate of less than 80 percent. All other schools will be designated as “other.”

Indicators contributing to how a school is classified for the 2017-2018 school year include:
• Proficiency – based on student performance on tests in reading and mathematics
• Separate Academic Indicator – (elementary and middle schools only) based on student performance on tests in science, social studies and writing
• Growth – (elementary and middle schools only) based on student growth toward proficiency on reading and mathematics tests; and English learners’ growth toward English attainment
• Graduation Rate – (high schools only) the percentage of students who graduate within a specified period compared with the cohort of students who started high school the same year.
• Transition Readiness – (high school only) based on students earning a high school diploma and meeting either academic or career readiness as defined in Kentucky’s accountability system. Not all components of the transition readiness indicator are available for reporting this fall. This year’s data will include college admissions exam (ACT), Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Advanced International, industry certifications, Career and Technical Education End of Program assessments and KDE/Labor Cabinet-approved apprenticeship; dual credit and verification of exceptional work experience will be included in transition readiness starting in the 2018-2019 school year, once data are available. High school transition readiness also is based on English language learners’ attainment of English language proficiency.

In late fall 2018, Kentucky will go online with a new school report card that will include school, district and state performance on state assessments, as well as accountability determinations and other information important to parents. Data will be reported by student group to create more transparency on where gaps may exist. 



Jessica Fletcher
Office of the Commissioner
Division of Communications
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-2000 Ext. 4611
Fax (502) 564-3049 
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