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February 21, 2017
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JP O'Hare

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State Education Department Seeking Input for Determining School Accountability Under ESSA

Survey Responses on Possible Indicators of School Quality and Student Success Accepted Through March 20

Winter Regional Open Meetings Held In Coming Weeks

The New York State Education Department is accepting public comment on potential Indicators of School Quality and Student Success for inclusion in the State system for determining school accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today. 

After seeking input from teachers, principals, superintendents, parents and other stakeholders, NYSED developed a Survey of Possible School Quality and Student Success Indicators.  The Department is accepting responses to the survey through March 20.  A series of Winter Regional Open Meetings to receive feedback on specific questions regarding development of New York’s State ESSA application is also planned for stakeholders, to be held from February 27 – March 17.

“Every step of the way, we are asking parents, teachers, students, administrators and community organizations to be part of the conversation to ensure brighter futures for our children,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said.  “That conversation must include indicators of success such as student access to highly qualified teachers and Advanced Placement courses, and parent and community engagement to help improve our schools.  These are transformative, whole-school practices that have the potential to dramatically improve educational outcomes for all students.” 

“In developing New York’s ESSA plan, we are working to identify the most important tools for improving performance in schools,” Commissioner Elia said.  “That’s why it’s so important that we have input from stakeholders across the state, and I encourage anyone who would like to do so to take part in this survey.  The indicators we choose will be key in helping us determine whether schools are finding the most effective ways to improve so our students can have the best possible chance at success.”

ESSA Requirements for Indicators of School Quality and Student Success

ESSA requires states to reconsider their accountability systems for public schools.  As was required under the No Child Left Behind Act, states must use the proficiency rates of students in language arts and mathematics and high school graduation rates to hold schools accountable for their performance.  ESSA requires that schools also be held accountable for the progress that English language learners make toward acquisition of English proficiency.

In addition, states’ school accountability systems must include at least one additional indicator of School Quality or Student Success.  These indicators may vary by each grade span and can include:

  • measures of student access to and completion of advanced coursework;
  • postsecondary readiness;
  • school climate and safety;
  • student engagement;
  • teacher engagement; or
  • any other measure that meaningfully differentiates among schools and is valid, reliable, comparable and available for schools statewide. 

Any indicators chosen must also be calculated in the same way for all schools across the State and be able to be disaggregated for each subgroup of students.  School Year 2017-18 results will be the first time that selected indicators will be used as part of the process of differentiating school performance and determining which schools shall be identified for support and improvement.

The Department is required by the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) to submit a state plan, which fulfills the requirements of ESSA, by September 2017.

How to Respond to the Survey

The Survey of Possible Indicators of School Quality and Student Success can be found here.  Translated surveys in Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic are also available at that link.

Survey responses can be submitted through March 20.  The Department will review the survey responses and provide an update on the results of the survey to the New York State Board of Regents at its March and April meetings.  Based on the survey results, and in consultation with the State’s Committee of Practioners and the ESSA Think Tank, the Board of Regents will determine which indicators should be included in the state’s draft plan. 

Winter Regional Open Meetings on ESSA

NYSED will provide an additional opportunity for stakeholder and public input, from  February 27 through March 17.  District Superintendents and Superintendents of Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers will host open public meetings to gather public input on questions related to the development of the draft state ESSA plan. 

The meetings will be focused on 14 questions for which the Department wishes feedback on specified options before making recommendations for how to address these questions in developing a draft of New York’s State ESSA application. Questions address such issues as: what new innovative assessment practices New York may wish to seek approval to pilot; assessment and accountability requirements for newly arrived English language learners, strategies for preservice preparation and professional support for educators; design of the state’s public school accountability system; and supports and interventions in low performing schools. 

Individuals who wish to attend these meetings can find information about the dates, times, locations, and other pertinent details on the New York Education Department’s ESSA website.

An update on the feedback gathered from the public at these meetings will be presented to the New York State Board of Regents at future meetings.

For more information about the State’s work in developing the required ESSA state plan, including dates of upcoming Regional Meetings, and updates regarding the results of the survey, please visit the Department’s ESSA website.