ESSA - NCLB Comparison Table

The following table outlines comparisons between the Every Student Succeeds Act and No Child Left Behind.

Statement of purpose
Emphasis placed on closing achievement gaps

All children provided opportunity to receive equitable, high-quality education
Can use single summative or multiple interim assessments

Can administer computer adaptive assessments

School districts can implement alt. high school assessment

1% cap on administration of alternate assessments limited to students with “significant disabilities”

Assess reading/language arts and math annually in grades 3-8 and once in high school

Assess science once in grades 3-5, once in grades 6-9, and once in grades 10-12

Divisions receiving Title I, Part A funds must participate in NAEP in grades 4 and 8

Disaggregate results of all accountability indicators

95% testing participation rate

(Indicators state systems must address)
Academic progress

Progress in the proficiency of English learners

School quality

Academic achievement

Graduation rates


(Report cards – reporting must include)

Children of military parents

Foster children

Homeless students

Migrant students

Gender categories

School quality, climate, and safety data

Teacher equity data

Per pupil expenditure data

All students

Major racial/ethnic groups

Students with disabilities

Economically disadvantaged

English learners

Accountability comprehensive support and improvement Determined by each school’s summative rating for all students over 3 or fewer years. Indication criteria:
o   The lowest 5% of Title I schools
o   Any high school with a federal 4-year cohort graduation rate below 67%
o   Chronologically low-performing subgroup

Targeted supporting and improvement

Determined by school subgroup performance over 2 or fewer years.  Indication criteria:
o   School with 1 or more consistently
underperforming subgroups
o   School with 1 or more subgroups performing at or below the summative level of performance of all students in any school identified for comprehensive support and improvement
Teacher and Paraprofessional Qualifications Eliminated terms “highly qualified teacher” and “highly qualified paraprofessional”

Beginning 2016-17, “highly qualified” data no longer collected and reported; no calculations made related to percentage of classes taught by highly qualified teachers

Students taught by properly licensed and
endorsed teachers

Data collected through Master Schedule Collection (MSC) and Instructional Personnel and Licensure Report (IPAL)

Title I school paraprofessionals must meet same qualifications required under NCLB


Eligible School Attendance Areas (Determining Eligibility)


Previous poverty threshold of 75% may be lowered
to 50% for high schools at the discretion of the local education agency

Eligible School Attendance Areas (Reservation of Funds)



Funds set aside for homeless students may be determined based on needs assessment of homeless children and youth, which may be the same as assessment conducted under McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act


Schoolwide Programs (Eligibility) School with less than 40% of students from low income families may apply for a waiver from the state education agency to operate a schoolwide program

Currently operating schoolwide programs may continue, but must amend plan within first year of implementation of ESSA to comply with new schoolwide plan guidelines

No school participating in schoolwide program is required to identify particular eligible children or to identify individual services as supplementary

Eligible schools must develop comprehensive plan over the course of 1 year unless local education agency determines less time is needed to develop and implement the program

Schoolwide Programs (Stakeholder Engagement)
Additional stakeholders who should be involved in the development of the plan include: Other school leaders; Paraprofessionals present in the school; The local education agency; Tribes and tribal organizations present in the community; Specialized support personnel (if appropriate)
Plan developed with involvement of:  Parents, Other members of the community to be served; Administrators; Teachers; Principals; Technical assistance providers; School staff; Students of a secondary school (if applicable)
Schoolwide Programs (Coordination of Services) Plan should be developed in coordination and integration with other federal, state, and local services, resources, and programs, including:  Programs supported under ESSA; Violence prevention programs; Nutrition programs; Housing programs; Adult education programs; Career and technical education programs;
Schools implementing comprehensive or targeted support and improvement activities
Head start is one of the programs with which
schools may coordinate
Schoolwide Programs (Plan Development) Provide description of schoolwide reform strategies that provide opportunities for all children

Provide a description of schoolwide reform strategies that use methods and instructional strategies that strengthen the school’s academic program, increase learning time, and help provide enriched and accelerated curriculum

Provide a description of schoolwide reform strategies that
address the needs of all children in the school, particularly
needs of at risk students

Plan development requires comprehensive needs assessment of entire school that takes into account academic achievement of students in relation to state standards

Parent and Family Engagement Formerly “parent involvement”

Meaningful consultation now includes consultation with:  Employers; Business leaders and philanthropic organizations; Individuals with experience in effectively engaging parents and family members in education

Emphasis placed on fact that local education agency is not limited to only reserving 1% of allocation for parent and family engagement

90% of the 1% must be used at the school level

Priority for receipt of paternal involvement funds should be given to high needs schools

Funds must be used in at least one of the following ways:

Supporting schools and non-profit organizations in providing professional development for personnel and parents regarding parent involvement strategies

Supporting programs that reach parents and family members at home, in the community, and at school

Disseminating information on best practices for increasing engagement of economically disadvantaged parents and family

Collaborating with or providing subgrants to schools to enable them to collaborate with organizations successful in improving parent and family engagement

Engaging in other activities that the local education agency deems consistent with its parent and family engagement policy

[i] Virginia Department of Education.  (2017).  Every Student Succeeds Act.  Retrieved from


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