Every Student Succeeds Act Resources

U.S. Department of Education

The official and most up to date news and resources related to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) are available from the U.S. Department of Education. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to sign up for ESSA e-mail updates and submit inquires to essa.questions@ed.gov to inform future guidance and support for the field.

Full legislative legislative language for ESSA may be found here.

The Department has released guidance and regulatory information, including draft and final regulations, dear colleague letters, and non-regulatory guidance.

The Department Office of State Support maintains a page that organizes ESSA guidance documents, webinars, and tools by topic.

Additional Resources

Please note the following resources have not been reviewed by the Department and therefore are not official. Several documents include analysis and commentary that have been offered to inform discussions around ESSA transition and planning. Please refer to the Department’s official ESSA website for the most up to date information.


  • ESSA: Quick guides on top issues (August 9, 2016) – A succinct and accessible overview of key ESSA questions from the Education Commission of the States.
  • Making the Most of the Every Student Succeeds Act (May 4, 2016) – An ESSA reference guide from Education First that includes a summary of key provisions and potential action steps for states and policymakers.
  • ESSA: The Land of Opportunity (March 30, 2016) – A presentation by Steven Spillan of Brustein & Manasevit, a DC-based law practice specializing in Federal education programs.
  • Decoding The Every Student Succeeds Act (February 2016) – Webinar hosted by Whiteboard Advisors and EdSurge breaks down the new legislation. Includes analysis by Andy Rotherham of Bellwether Education Partners and Carissa Moffat Miller of the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Accountability and Assessment

  • NEW! Including English Learners in Your State Title I Accountability Plan (January 2017) – This CCSSO brief includes well-known facts about English language proficiency development that could be considered in the creation of an accountability plan; a primer on how to model growth in English language proficiency, and the strengths and weaknesses of different options; and implications of choosing a particular model based on strategy parameters associated with that decision, such as minimum N-size, or counting the number of years that former EL students are included in the EL subgroup.
  • NEW! Incorporating English Learner Progress into State Accountability Systems (January 2017) The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) proposes changes in how states include the nation’s growing population of English Learners (ELs) into the accountability system. This paper identifies key issues and questions that might be considered and explored by state decision makers in this area. It includes background information on policy history, basic information on types of accountability models, and several demonstrations of how some options play out on real system data.
  • Final Regulations: Assessments – Part A, Part B (December 7, 2016) – Final regulations from the U.S. Department of Education on state assessments. The Department has provided a fact sheet that summarizes regulations for both Title I Part A and Part B.
  • A First Look at State Responses to ESSA and Low-Performing Schools (November 14, 2016) – The Center on School Turnaround shares the results of a 50 state survey on early state responses to new ESSA provisions concerning low-performing schools. The report highlights accountability and improvement provisions that states intend to revise under ESSA as well as those areas where they anticipate needing the most technical assistance.
  • ESSA Indicators of School Quality and Student Success (October 2016) – Brief from Chiefs for Change outlining considerations in the selection of indicators of school quality or student success. Specific indicators are discussed, including their ESSA level of research evidence.
  • CSAI: Review of State Accountability Systems That Include a Student Growth Indicator (June 2016) – This state review was conducted to examine how states have integrated student growth measures into their school accountability systems, which can provide insight for other states looking to add or reformulate a state growth measure. Review also tracks other key state accountability indicators.
  • Choices and Trade-offs: Key Questions for State Policymakers When Selecting High School Assessments (May 2016) – A framework for thinking about measuring high school student success in ESSA. Proposes a series of issues policymakers should investigate to determine which approach best matches state priorities. Prepared by Education First with the input of testing and state policy experts.
  • Making the Grade, A 50-State Analysis of School Accountability Systems (May 19, 2016) – This report from the Center for American Progress finds patterns in current systems and identifies areas that states need to focus on in light of new ESSA accountability requirements. Also available is an accompanying interactive data tool to explore current state accountability indicators.  
  • Transitioning to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA): Assessment and Accountability (March 24, 2016) – A presentation by CSAI Co-Director Deb Sigman and Associate Director Joan Herman on the implications of ESSA on state assessment and accountability systems.

Evidence-Based Interventions

Special Populations

  • U.S. Department of Education ESSA Early Learning Guidance (October 20, 2016) – This guidance is intended to remind state and local decision-makers about the importance of investing in early learning, highlight the opportunities available under the new law to strengthen early education, and provide examples of how states and local communities can support young children’s success in school. The full guidance can be found here.
  • ESSA: Key Provisions and Implications for Students with Disabilities (August 10, 2016) – Developed by the National Center for Systemic Improvement in partnership with the Council of Chief State School Officers, this guide highlights key provisions and implications for students with disabilities in ESSA and assists states in making connections between improvement efforts for students with disabilities and the state’s overall vision and goals.
  • U.S. Department of Education Homeless Children and Youths Program Guidance (July 26, 2016) – The new provisions address the needs of homeless individuals, and ensure educational rights and protections for homeless children and youth. The guidance will assist state and local partners in understanding and implementing the new law in order to better protect and serve homeless students and help schools in providing these students with much needed stability, safety, and support. The guidance was informed by the input of a diverse group of stakeholders to best address the needs of homeless youth. A four page fact sheet is also available.
  • U.S. Department of Education English Learners and Title III Guidance (September 23, 2016) – This non-regulatory guidance addresses how Title III funds may be used to provide supplemental services that improve the English language proficiency and academic achievement of English learners (ELs). It is intended to help states, districts and schools improve educational outcomes for ELs and immigrant children and youth by promoting effective, research-based, educational language instruction programs. Additionally, recognizing the diversity of the EL population, the guidance touches upon distinct populations of ELs (e.g., EL students with disabilities and long-term ELs) as well as supports ELs in early learning programs.

Early Learning

For Further Reading