The U.S. Department of Education has released its final regulations under the Every Student Succeeds Act relating to annual testing and innovative assessments, with few changes from the originally proposed rules.
Education Week reports the final regulations tweak criteria for allowing states to get a waiver if more than 1% of students statewide are given alternate tests because of their cognitive disabilities, and they clarify when tests in Native American languages can be used for accountability purposes.
The final regulations also clarify that pilots of innovative tests can include material above or below grade level and that the results of these tests have to be comparable to test results in other districts, as well as results from the regular state test — with additional information about how states can prove this.
The Obama administration has been racing against the clock to release final regulations for all areas of the Every Student Succeeds Act before Donald Trump takes over as president. Proposed regulations have gone through several rounds of public comment and the administration has incorporated that feedback throughout the process.
Still, school districts are in a bit of limbo because the longevity of these rules is not clear. Republicans in Congress like Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) could work to invalidate the rules once Trump is in office, and the new education secretary could change or ignore the rules entirely. Many education policy experts are recommending states move forward with their implementation plans in the meantime to ensure they are ready when ESSA takes full effect.