The ESSA is a plan that has a strong equity tone- with an emphasis on every student and student group. In Minnesota’s plan, different student subgroups such as different ethnic groups, socio-economic groups, English [language] Learners, or students with special needs will be separated out in performance data and reporting. While all student groups are currently tested (and there is some separation of subgroup data on MCA tests), now schools will be evaluated even more on how well every group is performing on tests, demonstrating growth, or graduating from school. This creates a push for schools to make sure that all student groups are at proficiency and growing.
The state wide goals for ESSA are as follows:
- 90 percent of all Minnesota students will be proficient in reading and math by the year 2025. The state targets achievement gaps with the goal of ensuring that at least 85 percent of students in every student group are proficient.
- 90 percent of all Minnesota students will score proficient or higher in reading by third grade, with no student group below 85 percent, by the year 2025.
- 90 percent of all Minnesota students will score proficient or higher in math, with no student group below 85 percent, by the year 2025.
- 85 percent of English learners will be making progress in achieving English language proficiency by the year 2025.
- 90 percent of all Minnesota high school students will graduate in four years by the year 2020, with no student group below 85 percent graduating in four years.
- 95 percent of all Minnesota students will consistently attend school by the year 2020, with no student group below 90 percent consistently attending.
How will the state hold our district accountable? Below are a listing of the accountability indicators and a brief explanation of each.
Indicator 1 - Academic Achievement: for all schools
This indicator is the same as our current plan. It is based on state assessments (Minnesota
Comprehensive Assessments- MCAs) for reading and math. Students must “meet” or “exceed” standards to be considered “proficient.”
Indicator 2 - Academic Progress: elementary and middle schools
A transition matrix will be created to track student progress as they increase in their achievement levels (e.g. moving from “does not meet standards” to “partially meets standards”) based on the MCAs.
Indicator 3 - Graduation Rate: high schools
This indicator will use a school’s graduation rate. Any high school with a student group at a graduation rate below 67% will be flagged for support.
Indicator 4 - Progress Toward English Language Proficiency: all schools
A growth index will measure how each English learner scored on state assessments relative to their
personal target score.
Indicator 5 - School Quality/Student Success: all schools
This school accountability measure will shift a bit as more information becomes available from the state, but we are told that this indicator will track attendance, career and college readiness and every student having access to a “well-rounded education.”
More details on ESSA and its implementation are still to come. Districts will be starting to wade through what all the changes mean next year, as 2018/2019 is when the new plan will take effect. For more information on ESSA please visit the Minnesota Department of Education website at
Jacob Scandrett - High School Principal