What is ESSA?

ESSA is the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into federal law by President Obama on December 10, 2015. The Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ESSA will take effect on July 1, 2016, and schools are projected to implement new policies and procedures by the 2017-2018 academic year.


Among a number of changes, states will be required to develop their own plans regarding how curriculum and assessments will comply with federal requirements. The new law continues to focus on student level assessments for all students in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8, science assessments at least once in the elementary grades and at least once in the middle grades, college and career readiness in the high school grades, and accountability for all student subgroups. Each state must develop their own ESSA plan, addressing issues of school accountability, student assessments, and support for struggling schools among other elements. The state's accountability plan will include goals for academic indicators (improved academic achievement on the state assessments, a measure of student growth or other statewide academic indicators for elementary and middle schools, graduation rates for high schools, and progress in achieving proficiency for English Learners), a measure of school quality and student success (examples include student and educator engagement, access and completion of advanced coursework, postsecondary readiness, school climate, and safety), and participation rates on statewide assessments.


North Carolina and all other states will operate under its current federal plan until the final rules are completed for ESSA, which is expected in the winter of the 2016-2017 academic year. State education leaders are presently developing the new North Carolina plan. (Note: Regulations, rules, and U.S. Department of Education timelines and protocols may impact the draft timeline and plan development.)
Below are resources that may be helpful to stakeholders, educators, coordinators, and administrators for staying informing about the legislation.

General Resources