Education – ESSA Regulations on Assessments Finalized

On December 7, the Department of Education released final regulations on assessments in public schools. These regulations implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 require states to continue testing students every year, but provide more flexibility for states to try out new kinds of tests or use a nationally recognized college entrance test (such as the SAT) at the high school level. Among other things, the final regulations tweak the criteria for deciding when a state can get a waiver for exceeding the cap on the percentage of students who can take an alternate assessment based on alternative achievement standards (AA-AAS). The default cap of 1% of all students being tested was set to ensure that only students with “the most significant cognitive disabilities” take an AA-AAS. Many states preclude students who only take an AA-AAS from receiving a regular high school diploma. Read a fact sheet on the final regulations here and see the waiver language here.

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