The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides new flexibility for states with respect to high school assessments. Section 1111(b)(2)(H) of ESSA allows a Local Education Agency (LEA) to administer a locally selected, nationally recognized assessment in lieu of the state test in high school.
ACT ND Alignment Report
The North Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) provided a webinar and a Q&A document to the field with specifics on this option. This was followed by a survey gauging interest from districts. The survey results showed support of this option.
On November 29, 2017, a waiver was submitted to the US Department of Education (USDE), requesting North Dakota Public Schools be allowed to take advantage of the flexibility offered through ESSA concerning using a nationally recognized high school assessment in lieu of the NDSA prior to peer review, as required by regulations. The USDE contacted NDDPI in December, requesting additional supporting evidence and research in support of the waiver. This supplemental information was provided to the USDE on December 29, 2017.
The USDE provided an official response to the NDDPI waiver on January 31, 2018. NDDPI received notification that the waiver was not approved. NDDPI appealed the USDE decision through a re-submittal of the waiver application on February 26, 2018. Superintendent Baesler reached out to congressional leaders and high level officials to garner support of the waiver. On March 5, 2018, NDDPI was allowed to offer ACT for accountability purposes under Transition Authority.
A memo was distributed to school districts on March 6, 2018 requesting reaffirmation of their interest in the ACT accountability option for spring 2018 testing and confirmation that they have fulfilled the stakeholder communication requirements.
North Dakota State ACT Waiver to USDE
Supplemental Materials to ACT Waiver
Response from USDE to North Dakota ACT Waiver
Appeal/Re-submittal of ACT Waiver Request
Transition Authority from USDE to Approve ACT LEA Option for Accountability in Spring 2018
Memo to School Districts with Instructions on Procedure for Requesting Spring 2018 ACT Accountability Option