Education Week - March 16, 2016 - (Page 14)

ESSA RULEMAKING A GUIDE TO NEGOTIATIONS Beginning on March 21, the U.S. Department of Education will convene a group of educators, advocates, and experts representing a range of perspectives to negotiate rules for the Every Student Succeeds Act, the newest version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The 24-member panel will focus on two areas of the law, known as ESSA: * -Assessment  , providing clarity in the parts of the law that deal with testing, including the types of tests that can be used and what's required for certain groups of students. * -"Supplement-not-supplant"-  requirements, which deal with how federal dollars are supposed to be used relative to state and local dollars. -Assessment- What Is 'Negotiated Rulemaking'? Federal laws sometimes require agencies to use an up-close-and-in-person process to write regulations, called negotiated rulemaking. Under ESSA, the Education Department must use this process in three areas of the law: supplement-not-supplant requirements, assessment, and standards. The department has elected not to proceed with regulations on standards for now. But earlier this month, the Obama administration put out some discussion papers-and even a few draft regulations-on assessment and supplement-not-supplant. The committee will try to reach agreement on these. If negotiated rulemaking fails, as it often does, the department will have to go through the usual process for writing ESSA rules in these two areas. That would involve putting out draft rules, getting comments on them, and issuing a final rule. Other areas of ESSA-including accountability, which is arguably the issue at the heart of the law- don't need to go through negotiated rulemaking. The department can proceed right to the usual rulemaking process for the area of accountability. By Andrew Ujifusa and Alyson Klein E SSA keeps in place the No Child Left Behind Act's testing schedule, calling for states to assess students in grades 3-8 and once in high school. But it adds some new twists. And some of the most interesting testing issues in ESSA aren't on the table. Among them: the brand-new "innovative assessment" pilot, in which select states can try out new kinds of tests in a handful of districts, as New Hampshire is doing now, with the goal of eventually going statewide. If the department decides to regulate the pilot program, it will do so through the usual rulemaking process. Nationally Recognized Tests for High Schools Department officials will need to decide what constitutes a "nationally recognized test." (Is it just the ACT or the SAT? Could other tests-maybe even a new test-count?) They'll also have to make sure that the tests can be easily compared with a state's assessment so that students in different districts within the same state aren't held to different standards. And they'll have to make sure students with disabilities and English-learners are given appropriate accommodations, something both the College Board and ACT Inc. have struggled to do. Computer-Adaptive Testing These types of tests can be faster and more efficient, and they also offer different questions to different students, depending on their achievement levels. The Education Department wants to know if ESSA makes it clear that states will still need to report whether students taking these tests are on grade level. If tests focus just on whether students are making incremental progress, students could graduate from high school without being prepared for college or a job. This is one of the areas where the department offered proposed language, and it's aimed at providing clarity on that issue. Marianne Perie, the director of the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at the University of Kansas, for one, is hoping that computer-adaptive tests will be able to pinpoint not just whether or not students are on grade level (for accountability purposes), but also where exactly they are if they are not on grade level (for instructional purposes). 8th Grade Math Tests ESSA allows students who take advanced math in 8th grade-say, Algebra 1 or geometry-to use a test in that subject for accountability purposes, instead of the state assessment everyone else takes. In high school, those students must then take a test that corresponds to whatever level of math they are in-so they might take the 14 | EDUCATION WEEK | March 16, 2016 | Algebra 2 test while most other students take Algebra 1. This is something the department had already allowed, through a waiver, before ESSA passed. The department wants to make sure that many more students have access to those advanced classes, and that the alternative, harder math tests are of high quality. Tests for Students With Disabilities The new law requires that all assessments, to the extent possible, use principles of universal design for learning (UDL) to support all students' learning needs. The department also addresses ESSA's requirement that accommodations be provided to students with disabilities as identified under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act or other laws. The Education Department asks negotiators to consider, among other issues, whether regulations should define "students with disabilities in a way that encompasses students who receive accommodations under the IDEA as well as those receiving accommodations through other acts." Alternative Tests for Students With Severe Cognitive Disabilities Under ESSA, no more than 1 percent of students in a state may take an alternative test for students with severe cognitive disabilities in any single subject. But it's unclear how that restriction will work on a district-by-district basis. Among other issues, the department presents negotiators with the question of whether the regulations should define "students with the most significant cognitive disabilities." Academic Assessments for English-Language Learners For the first time in the history of the federal law, ESSA calls for English-language proficiency to be part of the accountability mix for the whole school. Under ESSA, states must try to get a picture of how much newly arrived ELLs know by offering them tests in their native language. That doesn't mean a state has to have a test available in every language, but it must have nativelanguage assessments on hand in any language that a "significant" number of students speak, and make "every effort" to develop those tests if they don't exist. The department wants negotiators to consider fleshing out those general terms.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - March 16, 2016

Education Week - March 16, 2016
States Hit Accelerator On Accountability
Immigrant Influxes Test U.S. Schools
Researchers Flag Downside Of Moving to Better Schools
News in Brief
Report Roundup
Potential Use of ‘Blockchain’ Tech for K-12 Debated by Experts
Blogs of the Week
Early-Education Measures Percolating at State, Local Levels
Acting Ed. Secretary Urges Congress to Renew Career-Tech Law
ESSA Rulemaking: A Guide to Negotiations
Blogs of the Week
ERIC T. SCHNEIDERMAN: Keeping Schoolhouse Doors Open for Immigrant Children
GARRETT NEIMAN: For Disadvantaged Students, New SAT Is First Step
Q&A With Author David Denby: A Quest for ‘Serious’ Reading In the Digital Age
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
ARNOLD PACKER: Should Citizenship Be a Goal of Education?

Education Week - March 16, 2016