Engaging Around State Accountability Systems

How to Prepare for and Support the Release of State Accountability Report Decisions

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 provides each state with the opportunity to develop or refine their own state-specific strategic vision for education. ESSA provides education leaders and stakeholders the opportunity to reimagine their local systems; in particular, the law provides flexibility for states to develop their own accountability systems that incorporate measures of student success that go well beyond test scores.

This flexibility means that each state’s accountability system under ESSA will be unique. As a result, each state education agency (SEA) will need a proactive communications strategy to build awareness of and support for the system itself, as well as understanding of what the accountability data means for each school and the students in that school.

This guide provides an overview of statewide accountability system options and school identification requirements under ESSA. This document also includes tools to help inform communication and engagement efforts in the months leading up to and immediately following the release of schoolwide accountability determinations, such as:

  • Clear details about the different types of accountability systems and reports.
  • Suggested talking points.
  • Suggested rollout strategy components.
  • Sample timeline and action plan.

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