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 state
to permit a local education agency (LEA) to administer a locally-selected, nationallyrecognized
assessment in lieu of the state test at high school if the LEA selects an
assessment that has been approved for such use by the state.
This provision raises a number of questions for state education leaders seeking to
leverage the promise of this flexibility. The purpose of this document is to help state
leaders identify key issues to be addressed and help them construct an implementation
plan to respond to the locally-selected, nationally-recognized high school assessment
(LNHSA) flexibility. This document was developed in consultation with a working group of
state leaders convened by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and builds
on a previous paper produced in conjunction with that workgroup.
This paper addresses two main components of the implementation: 1) coordination and
management and 2) evaluation criteria. Coordination and management refers to the tasks
associated with operationalizing an additional assessment program. Evaluation criteria
refers to the technical standards and the process necessary for approval by the state and
ultimately the U.S. Department of Education (USED).