Identifying a School Quality/Student Success Indicator for ESSA: Requirements and Considerations

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With the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), states have been given authority to
construct a school accountability model based on their unique contexts that can best advance
college- and career-ready outcomes. One of the most noteworthy elements of the revised statute
is the requirement for the inclusion of an indicator of school quality or student success. The school
quality or student success indicator is sometimes referred to as the “5th indicator,” as it is required in
conjunction with four other indicators: academic achievement, student growth, graduation rate, and
progress in achieving English language proficiency. To ensure the school quality or student success
indicator contributes to a state’s system of school and district accountability, ESSA outlines several

This brief addresses each of these requirements, highlighting key factors to consider when
identifying, evaluating, and implementing a school quality or student success indicator for inclusion
in a state’s accountability system.

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