New Online Tracker Shows How States Will Hold Schools Accountable Under ESSA

Achieve has released an online tracking tool that summarizes components of states’ accountability plans as submitted to the U.S. Department of Education under the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The tool also allows for users to compare states’ accountability metrics.

As part of ESSA, every state was required to create and submit a plan to hold its K-12 schools accountable for student performance. Achieve’s new tool summarizes states’ goals for student achievement and graduation rates, along with the other indicators and weighting that states plan to use for accountability purposes.

A look at the components of all 51 accountability plans reveals:

  • States are holding schools accountable for student achievement in many different ways, and the weighting of indicators varies widely. The weighting of English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics assessment results ranges from 15 percent to 50 percent (in elementary and middle school) or 60 percent (in high school). States are weighting four-year graduation rate anywhere from 5 percent to 50 percent of their high school accountability measures.
  • All states are including a measure of growth in their accountability systems in elementary and middle schools. On average, proficiency and growth on the state’s ELA/literacy and mathematics assessments account for nearly 70 percent of elementary and middle school accountability weightings.  
  • More states are now using measures of college and career readiness in their accountability systems. Most are incorporating them into a meta-indicator. Thirty-two states are including AP/IB/Dual Enrollment and/or a measure of career readiness, while two states are including postsecondary enrollment.   
  • Just over half of states (27) are including performance on the state’s science assessment in their accountability systems. However, only a handful have identified clear achievement goals around science.  
  • Eleven states are including a measure of whether students are on track to graduate from high school based on timely credit accumulation.
  • States have also taken a variety of approaches to setting long-term academic achievement and graduation rate goals. Twenty-nine states are setting different end-point long-term goals for different student subgroups in ELA/literacy and mathematics proficiency.  

The full components of each state’s plan, along with the option to compare two state plans are available. The information on the website has been pulled directly from state ESSA plans, including final plans for those that have been approved by the U.S. Department of Education and the most recent versions for those that remain under review. Achieve will update the site as plans continue to be approved and finalized.  

To view the tracker, see