Standards and Assessments

Program Overview

Raising academic standards for all students and measuring student achievement to hold schools accountable for educational progress are central strategies for promoting educational excellence and equity in our Nation’s schools. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) supports State efforts to establish challenging standards, develop aligned assessments, and build accountability systems for districts and schools that are based on educational results. In particular, ESEA includes explicit requirements to ensure that students served by Title I are given the same opportunity to achieve to high standards and are held to the same high expectations as all other students in each State.


Standards and Assessments Peer Review

  • A State’s Guide to the U.S. Department of Education’s Assessment Peer Review Process (September 24, 2018) PDF (736 KB)
  • Understanding the Assessment Peer Review Process (July 15, 2021). First of a series of four webinars offered in the summer of 2021. The webinar was aimed at providing a general overview of the assessment peer review process; and offered the perspective of several experts who have served as peer reviewers
  • Deep Dive into Critical Elements 5.4 and 6.4 (July 29, 2021). Second of a series of four webinars offered in the summer of 2021. The webinar was aimed at doing a deep dive into critical elements 5.4 (Monitoring Test Administration for Special Populations) and 6.4 (Reporting). This included highlighting key details in each critical element and discussing the kinds of additional evidence that the Department often requests. Expert panelists discussed their knowledge and experience with these critical elements from a State department of education perspective and also as a recent assessment peer reviewer.
  • Deep Dive into Critical Elements 2.1 and 3.1 (August 12, 2021). Third of a series of four webinars offered in the summer of 2021. The webinar was aimed at doing a deep dive into critical elements 2.1 (Test Design and Development) and 3.1 (Overall Validity, including Validity based on Content). It was similar in format to the second webinar in this series.
  • Debrief of the Assessment Peer Review Process including Tips & Tricks for Submitting Evidence (August 24, 2021). Fourth of a series of four webinars offered in the summer of 2021. The webinar was aimed at providing a demonstration of the peer review process, and providing advice from three peer reviewers on preparing assessment peer review evidence submissions.
  • State English Language Proficiency (ELP) Assessment Peer Review Webinar (January 31, 2019). An webinar was offered January 30 and repeated on January 31, 2019. The webinar was aimed at providing specific information about the upcoming ELP assessment peer review for States preparing submissions of evidence.
  • State Academic Assessment Peer Review Webinar (October 17, 2019). The webinar was aimed at providing specific information about the upcoming assessment peer review for States preparing submissions of evidence.
  • Assessment Peer Review Seminar (August 1 and 2, 2018). An assessment peer review seminar was held in Washington, DC on August 1 and 2, 2018. The seminar was focused on the updated guide for State Assessment Peer review, including the peer review of English Language Proficiency (ELP) assessments. Panel discussions that involved assessment experts (including many assessment peer reviewers) on a variety of salient topics were held. A complete summary of the seminar materials, including handouts, summary notes, participant list and video of all sessions are available at this link.
  • Memo to States Regarding an Update on the Assessment Peer Review Process for 2018-2019 (October 9, 2018) PDF (208 KB)
  • Letter to State Assessment Directors Regarding Assessment Peer Review Information (January 6, 2017) PDF (253 KB)
  • Letter to Chief State School Officers Regarding Assessment Peer Review Outcomes (October 6, 2016) PDF (163 KB)
  • Letter to Chief State School Officers Regarding Assessing Speaking and Listening (March 2, 2016) PDF (286 KB)
    • Template for State Request for Speaking and Listening Waiver (March 2, 2016) WORD (30 KB)
  • Call for Experts to Serve as Peer Reviewers
    • Peer submission checklist and conflict of interest form PDF (220 KB) or WORD (43 KB)

Decision Letters on State Final Assessment Systems

  • Decision Letters on Decision Letters on State Final Assessment Systems Under Title I of the ESEA

Related Regulations and Guidance

Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards

  • Alternate Achievement Standards for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Non-Regulatory Guidance (August 2005) MS WORD (810K)
  • Memo to States Regarding the Cap on the Percentage of Students who may be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment (May 16, 2017) PDF (256 KB)
  • Memo to States with Additional Information Regarding the Cap on the Percentage of Students Who May Be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment (August 27, 2018) (PDF) (270 KB)
  • Memo to States Regarding Consequences for States Not Meeting the Requirement to Assess Not More than 1.0 Percent of Students on the Alternate Assessment (March 28, 2019) (PDF) (277 KB)
  • Letters to States Regarding Alternate Assessment Participation Rates
  • Memo to States Regarding the Requirements to Request a Waiver for the 2020-21 School Year (SY) from the One Percent Cap on the Percentage of Students With the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who May Be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment Aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (June 9, 2020) (PDF).
  • Memo to States Regarding the Requirements to Request a Waiver for the 2021-22 School Year (SY) from the One Percent Cap on the Percentage of Students With the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities Who May Be Assessed with an Alternate Assessment Aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (October 29, 2021) (PDF).
  • Webinar on Meeting ESSA and WIOA Requirements: Alternate Assessments and Inclusion of All Students (July 15, 2020)
  • Webinar on How Do We Lower Our Alternate Participation Rates? Five States Tell Their Story? (August 20, 2020)
  • Webinar on Successfully Making and Implementing Participation and Accommodations Decisions for English Learners with Disabilities (August 27, 2020)

Assessment and Accountability for English learners (ELs)

  • Guidance on Regulations Regarding Assessment and Accountability for Recently Arrived and Former Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students (May 2007) MS WORD (704K)
  • Memo to States Regarding English Language Proficiency Assessments (June 28, 2017) PDF (217 KB)

Report Cards

  • State and Local Report Cards, Non-Regulatory Guidance (September, 2019) PDF

Other


Other Resources


Consolidated State Plans


Related Programs and Initiatives


Assessment Waivers

Waivers granted to States from requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

These are ED responses to State requests for waivers from requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.