Key Coverage

Inside ESSA Plans: How Are States Looking Beyond Test Scores?

School officials: Get ready to figure out whether your students have a problem with chronic absenteeism. And while you’re at it, see if you’re getting them ready for college and the workplace. 

Attendance—particularly chronic absenteeism—and college-and-career readiness are by far the most popular new areas of focus for accountability among the 40-plus states that have filed their plans to implement the Every Student Success Act, an Education Week review shows.

At least 33 states are looking at chronic absenteeism or attendance in some form to hold schools accountable under the new law. And some states chose factors that are related to attendance. California, for instance, is looking at suspensions and discipline rates. At least 33 states are incorporating some kind of postsecondary-readiness measure, whether that’s ACT scores, SAT scores, dual enrollment, Advanced Placement, career and technical education pathways, a mix of those factors, or something else.