More Attention to ELLs, Student Suspension, Fewer Test Days: NY Tweaks Its ESSA Plan

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A proposed accountability plan for New York state schools will measure performance in part by out-of-school suspensions, a greater emphasis on student academic growth, and eighth-grade students’ readiness for high school.
The wide-ranging proposal, required under the Every Student Succeeds Act, the nation’s new federal K-12 education law, incorporated public response to an initial draft released in May. Evaluating schools by their use of suspensions, which disproportionately affect students of color, was added in response to comment by school communities, education officials said Monday, as was a reduction of state testing from three to two days.

Other changes included weighing more heavily the advancement of English language learners; ensuring that the graduation rates of transfer schools — which educate overage and under-credited populations — don’t move them into receivership, which would put them at risk of external takeover; and demanding that schools attract and detail parent involvement in improvement plans.

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To that end, the state is working to create a visually intuitive dashboard for depicting school and student data. The dashboard will provide an opportunity to highlight information beyond test scores, which is one of the goals of ESSA and the Board of Regents, as Chalkbeat has reported.
“Through ESSA, New York is poised to take a more holistic approach to accountability that looks at multiple measures of school and student success,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said in the state’s press release. “This approach allows us to continually evolve and adapt so we can ensure that our systems are culturally responsive and place an emphasis on educating the whole child.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo must review the plan, which is due for review by the federal education department on September 18. Every state must submit a plan this year.

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