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Embracing Flexibility Provided by ESSA, Louisiana First to Pilot New Innovative Assessments

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

“I’m glad to see Louisiana leading the way to help students by utilizing this new flexibility afforded under ESSA,” said Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. “This pilot program allows states to make assessments more relevant and connected to the classroom while still providing valid, reliable and transparent data on student achievement and growth.  I look forward to seeing the results.”

Louisiana’s innovative assessments 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. Louisiana will pilot its innovative assessments in 20 high schools, across three districts and two charter networks, serving nearly 21,000 students.

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.

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