One of the most important and welcomed provisions of the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA) is the removal of so-called Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) – the federal mandate that came to symbolize everything that was wrong with the way No Child Left Behind defined and measured accountability. AYP imposed rigid and narrow measures for school improvement, improperly labeling many schools as low-performing and imposing punishment when they were unable to meet the unrealistic expectations for proficiency
States have new clout under the law, but ESSA requires that state accountability systems must include the following five indicators:
- math and reading assessments,
- graduation rates,
- one other statewide indicator for middle and elementary schools,
- English Language Proficiency,
- and at least one indicator of school quality and student support, such as school climate or safety, access to advanced coursework, graduation rate, etc.