New Hampshire Becomes Second State to Embrace Flexibility in ESSA to Pilot Innovative Assessments

New Hampshire Becomes Second State to Embrace Flexibility in ESSA to Pilot Innovative Assessments

October 2, 2018

WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos today announced that New Hampshire will be the second state to test new, innovative assessments as part of a pilot program authorized by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

“I’m thrilled to see Commissioner Edelblut step up to the plate and utilize this important new flexibility afforded by ESSA,” said Secretary DeVos. “This pilot program gives states the opportunity to make assessments more relevant to classroom learning while still providing important information about student achievement and growth.”

New Hampshire’s Performance Assessment of Competency Education (PACE) is grounded in a competency-based educational approach designed to ensure that all students have meaningful opportunities to achieve critical knowledge and skills. The PACE will use local assessments as part of the annual determination of student proficiency for accountability. The assessments will be informed by local teachers, integrated into students’ day-to-day work and reduce the overall amount of standardized testing.

Louisiana was the first state to receive approval to utilize this flexibility. Its pilot program will measure student understanding in English language arts (ELA) and social studies by assessing students on passages from books used in daily classroom instruction at regular intervals, rather than randomly-selected texts once during the school year.

The Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority (IADA) program is designed to lower barriers to innovation and encourage local involvement in the development of the next generation of assessments.

As part of the program, states can pilot new and innovative assessments on a small scale, avoid double-testing students on both pilot and statewide exams and develop strategies for implementing such innovative assessments statewide over time.

To participate in the pilot, states must apply and demonstrate how their innovative assessments are developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, aligned to challenging state academic standards and accessible to all students through use of principles of universal design for learning, among other requirements.