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Every Student Succeeds Act

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act, signed in 2015, replaced the No Child Left Behind Act. It maintains a focus on equity for all students, while giving states and local school districts much more ownership over systems of school accountability and support. In Iowa, ESSA has been a great opportunity to build on bold education improvements under way that align with ESSA requirements, including clear and rigorous standards for what students should know and be able to do, a school accountability system that targets support where and when schools need it most, and a structure for professional learning that emphasizes teacher leadership and evidence-based practices.

ESSA Accountability

ESSA requires an accountability index to identify schools for comprehensive assistance and targeted assistance. Schools who need comprehensive assistance are the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools as identified by the index. Schools identified for targeted assistance have one or more student groups who perform at or below the benchmark for the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools. Once identified, the schools would be offered help and planning with the goal of increasing student performance.

Multiple indicators will be used in the accountability index to determine building-level performance:

  • Student Participation on State Assessments: This requires that a minimum of 95 percent of a school’s enrollment participate in the annual State Assessment. Additionally, the 95 percent rule also applies to a school’s subgroups, such as Hispanics, African Americans, English language learners and students on Individualized Education Programs, as examples.
  • Proficiency: This measure examines the percent of students in a school who are proficient in math and reading.
  • Student Growth: This examines overall student growth by looking at student percentiles and determining whether the student is meeting or exceeding growth targets.
  • Graduation Rate: This measurement determines the percent of students who graduate from high school in four or five years.
  • Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency: For students whose first language is not English, this measures a student’s progress in obtaining English language proficiency, across the domains of reading, writing, listening and speaking.
  • Average Scale Score: This measure provides information about the average performance of students in reading and mathematics in a school.
  • Conditions for Learning: This measures a school’s safety, engagement and environment based on surveys of students.
  • Postsecondary Readiness: This measure is under development and is expected to be put in place in the 2019-20 school year.


You may access the Iowa School Perfomance Profiles site here


ESSA Common Questions 

ESSA Talking Points