Partners of Industry
Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
ESSA, or the Every Student Succeeds Act, was signed into federal law on December 10, 2015 and became the first major renewal of education law since No Child Left Behind over a decade earlier. ESSA rolls back much of what has been viewed as overreach of the federal government and creates new requirements for state education accountability. States had until the 2017-18 school year to create plans for accountability and support. Where NCLB provided highly punitive measures for underperforming schools, ESSA allows the states to create systems to support schools that need assistance in meeting performance expectations. While NCLB was solely fixated on a single standardized test score for student performance, ESSA recognizes that school performance should be measured by a much more diverse set of criteria.
ESSA establishes four levels of school performance as described in the associated graphic. Starting in Fall 2018, all schools will be given one of the following designations: exemplary, commendable, underperforming, and lowest-performing. Schools that are designated as under or lowest-performing will be able to seek assistance in the school improvement process and will have extra funding attached to these additional requirements.
Instead of one test score to define the performance level for schools, ESSA identifies several indicators under the umbrella of academic and student success/school quality indicators. All of these criteria have a weight that adds up to 100%. The table below shows the criteria and the weight associated with each. While most educators will agree that these indicators give a more comprehensive view of school performance than a one-day snapshot that a standardized test provides, the metrics can be more complicated to track and more complex in understanding how the data comes together into a single designation.
2022 Components of the Summative Designations for High Schools
McHenry High School is particularly well positioned to transition to ESSA due to its very successful Distinguished Warrior Program. There are many criteria of ESSA’s College and Career Readiness Indicators that are similar or the same as the criteria for the DW honor. In the coming months, MCHS will transition some of the Distinguished Warrior criteria to align more closely with ESSA. Two other major criteria under Illinois’ ESSA plan are 9th grade on track and graduation rate. The State of Illinois has established the following two goals for high schools.
90% of 9th grade students will remain “on-track” for graduation with their classmates
90% of all students will graduate college and career ready
MCHS monitors freshmen success closely and has a robust, summer school “get ahead” and remediation program. MCHS counselors and interventionists also work diligently to ensure students graduate on time and provide many remedial options as well as alternative programming.