The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA, 2015) provides new flexibility for
states with respect to high school assessments. Notably, section 1111(b)(2)(H)
of ESSA allows a local education agency (LEA) to administer a locally selected
assessment in lieu of the state test in high school if the LEA selects a nationallyrecognized
assessment that has been approved for use by the state.
This provision raises a number of questions for state education leaders: Which
nationally-recognized high school assessments can be considered? What
technical criteria must a state use to evaluate the proposed assessment? How
should states evaluate LEA requests to use an assessment? What are the
implications for state accountability systems? This brief has been prepared
to address key questions related to the requirements and implications. State
leaders can use the guidance herein to develop a comprehensive high school
assessment plan that anticipates the challenges and opportunities associated
with locally selected assessments.