June 5, 2018

William J. Mathis: (802) 383-0058, wmathis@sover.net
Audrey Amrein-Beardsley: (602) 561-4731, audrey.beardsley@asu.edu
Great Lakes Center: (517) 203-2940, greatlakescenter@greatlakescenter.org

Policy Brief: After passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, states have taken some steps in the right direction

EAST LANSING, Mich. (June 5, 2018) — A policy brief published by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) found minor but positive changes in state assessment and teacher evaluation practices after enactment of the ESSA on January 1, 2016. The new law reduced federal oversight and gave states more control over their state assessment and accountability systems. The authors analyzed plans for 50 states and the District of Columbia, and report findings from a survey of department of education personnel.   

The NEPC's release is a "state of the states" analysis of changes to student and teacher evaluation systems since the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act.

The policy brief: State-Level Assessments and Teacher Evaluation Systems after the Passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act: Some Steps in the Right Direction, by Kevin Close, Audrey Amrein-Beardsley, and Clarin Collins, is one in an annual series of policy briefs by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC) at the University of Colorado Boulder, with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The authors found that:
Most states continue to use the same large-scale student assessments that were in place before ESSA and they continue to give those test results a role in evaluating teacher effectiveness. However, greater local control under ESSA has led to some encouraging signs of change.  These include:

  • Efforts to redefine student growth as something other than growth in just test scores;
  • Movement toward more varied multiple measurement tools, including student learning objectives and student surveys (although the efficacy of these instruments for accountability purposes still warrants research);
  • Fewer states emphasizing value-added assessments in teacher evaluations; and
  • A move away from high-stakes consequences and toward formative rather than summative assessments. 

In their conclusion, the authors recommended that state policymakers: include the viewpoints of many stakeholders before revising assessment policies; ensure that teacher evaluation systems rely on a balanced system of multiple measures; emphasize the collection of data for formative feedback leading to professional development; and set goals for reducing proficiency gaps, plans for which many states were lacking.

Find the policy brief on the web:

Policy briefs are a project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC). They provide the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of important topics in education. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

You can also find the brief on the NEPC website:

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The mission of the Great Lakes Center for Education Research & Practice is to support and disseminate high quality research and reviews of research for the purpose of informing education policy and to develop research-based resources for use by those who advocate for education reform.

Visit the Great Lakes Center website at http://www.greatlakescenter.org/