Are you prepared for ESSA?
ESSA begins to take effect in early 2017. Are you ready?
ESSA, or Every Student Succeeds Act, the long awaited successor to No Child Left Behind will start to take effect at the beginning of this coming year.
A major focal point of the new law is on formative, rather than summative assessments.
This can cause a major shift in the instructional models schools are using and the way districts have set up their curriculum.
ESSA is decidely not about moving students onto the next step of their educational journey if they are not prepared to. Hence the increased focus on formative assessments.
Formative assessments, unlike summative assessments, come in various formats and are made to be used time and time again to ensure that students are mastering course content at an appropriate rate.
The goal behind the focus on formative assessments in ESSA is, if a student is falling behind or at-risk of falling behind in class, a teacher will become aware of this (via formative assessments) much sooner than they would with summative assessments at the end of a unit or semester.
With formative assessments the teacher can identify the student who is struggling and where that student is having problems. Then, the teacher is able to provide help to that student to help them get back on track with the rest of the class.
Formative assessments can come in the form of quizzes. Other types of formative assessments include:
- Practice presentations
- Journal entries
- Visual representations
- Peer/self assessments
- Think, Pair, Share
- ...and so many more
What can you do?
Think about your students, are they prepared to move onto the next unit in their class? The next grade at the end of the year? Talk to your teachers too. They'll know more than anybody about how their students are doing.
Next think about what you might need to change about your curriculum? How will your courses and instruction change with ESSA?
It's also helpful to think through what kinds of tools you might need to help support a change in curriculum. You'll likely require tools that give you quick access to vast amounts of learning data that these formative assessments generate.
That data should also be real-time so your teachers and school leaders can provide help to at-risk students.
We know, it's a lot to think about. We've come up with a guide of helping questions to consider when transitioning from NCLB to ESSA. You can grab it below.