Innovative Assessment and Accountability Systems that Support Continuous Improvement under ESSA: Practical Considerations and Early Research

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) addresses concerns about the effects of high-stakes achievement tests by authorizing a pilot program that allows up to seven states to apply for a waiver from federal assessment and accountability regulations. These innovative assessment and accountability systems are important because they have the potential to re-align state assessment systems in such a way that there is coherence between the underlying theory of learning, goals and purposes for the assessment system, and design of the assessment system. However, there has been little focused work on specifying the practical considerations related to the design and implementation of innovative systems as well as the relationship between key elements of such systems, student achievement outcomes, and continuous improvement.