Guidance on Standards, Assessments, and Accountability
Archived Information

Overview of Major Provisions

This overview provides an introduction to the major provisions of Title I of the ESEA for which guidance is presented in this document. Throughout this guidance the statute and regulations for each section are given first, followed by discussion, questions and answers, and examples to clarify or illustrate the provisions.

I. Challenging Content and Performance Standards: (Section 1111(b)(1); §200.1(b)(1))

By the beginning of the 1997-98 school year, States will develop or adopt challenging State content standards, in at least reading and math, which specify what all children are expected to know and be able to do, and challenging performance standards which show the level children will be expected to attain in mastering the material in the content standards. To ensure high expectations, States that have developed or adopted standards for all children must use them for Title I purposes. Only in their absence will States develop or adopt challenging standards for Title I.

II. High-Quality Assessments: (Section 1111(b)(3); §§200.1(b)(2) and 200.4)

By the beginning of the 2000-01 school year, States will develop or adopt high-quality yearly assessments in at least reading and math to determine how well children served by Title I are learning the material according to the State content standards. The assessments developed/adopted for all children must also be used for Title I purposes.

III. Adequate Yearly Progress: (Section 1111(b)(2); §200.3)

Each State defines what constitutes "adequate yearly progress" of each Title I school and district toward enabling children to meet the high performance levels expected of all children, as measured by the State assessments and other measures.

IV. Transitional Assessments: (Section 1111(b)(7); §§200.3(c) and 200.4(e)(1))

In order for States to have sufficient time to develop or adopt a high-quality assessment system, Title I provides for a transitional period, until the school year 2000-01, during which a State may use a transitional assessment system while developing its final assessment system.

V. Accountability and Improvement: (Sections 1111(b)(7)(B) and 1116; §§200.5 and 200.6))

When final assessments are implemented, each Title I school and district will be required to demonstrate adequate yearly progress toward helping participating children attain the State’s challenging performance standards. During the transition period, the State must establish criteria for identifying Title I schools and districts that rely on accurate information about the continuous and substantial yearly academic progress of each such school and district. Schools or districts failing to make adequate yearly progress or to meet the State’s transitional criteria for two consecutive years will be identified for improvement.

For schools identified for improvement, the school district must provide technical assistance as those schools develop or revise their school plans. If, after two years in school improvement the school still is not making adequate progress, its LEA must take some kind of corrective action. Schools that make adequate progress for two out of three years will no longer be identified for improvement. School districts also will be held accountable by their SEAs for performance, through mechanisms similar to those used for schools. (See chart on page 76).

Distinguished Schools—schools achieving more than adequate yearly progress for three years—will have the option to become mentors to other schools. Districts also are encouraged to provide rewards for such schools and their staffs. "Distinguished Educators" will be available to assist schools and districts having the most difficulty meeting the State standards.

Organization of the Guidance on Standards, Assessment, and Accountability

The major sections of this guidance correspond to the major provisions described above and are organized as follows. First, an introduction gives an overview of the purposes of the section, Next, the statute and regulations are cited and the regulations are restated. This is followed by a series of frequently asked questions and answers. Examples are provided throughout the guidance to provide short illustrations of particular concepts contained in these provisions. Each illustration represents only one of several ways that States may choose to satisfy these provisions.

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Compensatory Education Programs, would like to express appreciation to the Council of Chief State School Officers’ State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards for assistance in writing and reviewing this guidance. It also had input from three regional conferences sponsored by the National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, and was reviewed by staff of Goals 2000, the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs, and the Office of Special Education Programs.

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Last Modified: 04/02/2009