Ed Dept. Releases Draft Regulations on ESSA Testing & Spending

The U.S. Department of Education has released draft regulations on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) testing and spending issues, reports Education Week. The spending portion of the law is called “supplement-not-supplant” and governs how local and state dollars interact with federal Title 1 spending for students in poverty.

Ed Week has provided some of the main points of the draft regulations, stated below:

Draft regulations for assessment:

  • Computer-Adaptive tests: Under the regulations, computer-adaptive tests used for accountability would have to be able to determine whether a student is on grade level. The department released similar language ahead of the negotiations.
  • Eighth grade math tests: Under the proposed regulations, students who take a higher-level math test for accountability purposes (say, an Algebra test, usually given to high schoolers) must be given access to accommodations if they are English language learners, or students in special education. What’s more, the state has to show that all students have the opportunity to be prepared for and take advanced math in middle school. It’s unclear how that will fly with negotiators. Some, including Tony Evers, the state superintendent in Wisconsin, worried that requiring states to make sure everyone has access to advanced math might be too big a burden.

Draft regulations for supplement-not-supplant:

  • The proposed regulations state that districts can use the methodology of their choosing to show how state and local funds are allocated, provided that the methodology “[r]esults in the LEA spending an amount of State and local funds per pupil in each Title I school that is equal to or greater than the average amount spent per pupil in non-Title I schools,” according to the department’s summary of the draft.
  • This methodology chosen by the district must also allocate “sufficient State and local funding to each Title I school to provide a basic educational program (as defined under State or local law) and services required by law for students with disabilities and English-learners.”
  • For resources or costs paid for at the district level, instead of the school level, the proposed regulation “would require that a district ensure that each Title I school receives a share of those services that is equal to or greater than the share it would otherwise receive if it were not a Title I school.”
  • Districts will no longer have to show that an individual cost or service associated with Title I spending is supplemental.

Read more about the draft regulations here