The following is an outline of ‘actions’ from which the U.S. DOE may select if school participation rates fall below 95% for standardized assessment.

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For all States, ED will consider the appropriate action to take for any State that does not assess at least 95 percent of its students in the 2015−2016 school year — overall and for each subgroup of students and among its LEAs.

Post: ESEA DCL Participation Rate

From: United States Department of Education
To: Chief State School Officer

In each request for information, the SEA was asked to demonstrate that it has taken or will take appropriate actions to enforce the requirements of the ESEA, describe how such actions will specifically address the problem that occurred in 2014−2015, and ensure that all students will participate in statewide assessments during the 2015−2016 school year and each year thereafter, recognizing that the extent of the non-participation and other relevant factors should inform the SEA’s actions.

Some examples of actions an SEA could take, alone or in combination, include:

  • Lowering an LEA’s or school’s rating in the State’s accountability system or amending the system to flag an LEA or school with a low participation rate.
  • Counting non-participants as non-proficient in accountability determinations.
  • Requiring an LEA or school to develop an improvement plan, or take corrective actions to ensure that all students participate in the statewide assessments in the future, and providing the SEA’s process to review and monitor such plans.
  • Requiring an LEA or school to implement additional interventions aligned with the reason for low student participation, even if the State’s accountability system does not officially designate schools for such interventions.
  • Designating an LEA or school as “high risk,” or a comparable status under the State’s laws and regulations, with a clear explanation for the implications of such a designation.
  • Withholding or directing use of State aid and/or funding flexibility.

In addition, an SEA has a range of other enforcement actions at its disposal with respect to noncompliance by an LEA, including placing a condition on an LEA’s Title I, Part A grant or withholding an LEA’s Title I, Part A funds (see, e.g., section 440 of the General Education Provisions Act).

If a State with participation rates below 95% in the 2014−2015 school year fails to assess at least 95% of its students on the statewide assessment in the 2015−2016 school year, ED will take one or more of the following actions: (1) withhold Title I, Part A State administrative funds; (2) place the State’s Title I, Part A grant on high-risk status and direct the State to use a portion of its Title I State administrative funds to address low participation rates; or (3) withhold or redirect Title VI State assessment funds.

For all States, ED will consider the appropriate action to take for any State that does not assess at least 95 percent of its students in the 2015−2016 school year — overall and for each subgroup of students and among its LEAs. To determine what action is most appropriate, ED will consider SEA and LEA participation rate data for the 2015−2016 school year, as well as action the SEA has taken with respect to any LEA noncompliance with the assessment requirements of the ESEA.

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