The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Assessment Committee met Tuesday, December 6, at the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) office in Roseville to review final regulations, hear from Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius and discuss current recommendations from stakeholders.
In general, the final regulations look similar to the previously released draft regulations. The biggest change provides the ability to delay timelines in implementation of ESSA. Commissioner Cassellius asked for the committee’s recommendation. By hand vote, the committee strongly recommended to begin implementing the accountability system using data from 2017-2018 to identify schools in need of improvement for the 2018-2019 school year. The previous timeline would have used 2016-2017 data beginning in 2017-2018.
The second question and response strongly encouraged MDE to take more time in submitting its plan to the U.S. Department of Education. The later submission date deadline is September 18, 2017, with the ability to submit prior to that date if desired.
MDE presented the weighting preferences as interpreted from the technical committee and advisory committee. These are not final — with a delay in submitting our plan, more input will be gathered and changes may be made.
Academic Achievement ….. Proficiency Index ….. Weight 35 percent
Academic Progress ………… Growth Z-scores …… Weight 40 percent
Graduation Rate ……………. 4-year/7-year ………. Weight 40 percent
EL Progress ………………….. Improvement Index .. Weight 15 percent
School Quality ………………. Absenteeism ………… Weight 10 percent
Commissioner Cassesllius shared opportunities and challenges of the current plan and process so far. One opportunity she touched on more was in response to stakeholders during the regional meetings. Cassesllius heard more interest in the fifth indicator of school quality — stakeholders wanted more focus on well-rounded education by including arts and physical education or equity. She pointed out the new timeline may provide for more inclusion and innovation.
One of the challenges is anticipating what the new administration will do with the regulations. Throwing them out and starting over is one possibility. Cassesllius’ recommendation in response to the new administration is to find areas we can agree on and move those forward.
Finally, during the looking-ahead area of the agenda, Cassellius was asked, “If we delay implementation, what do we use for our accountability system until then?” Her response: “The World’s Best Workforce.”
The next ESSA Accountability Advisory Committee meeting is going to be held in January.