What is ESSA?

In 2015, the federal government passed the Every Student Succeeds Act. This legislation calls for comprehensive evaluation of a student’s yearly progress – including academic and “non-academic” measures.

Every Student Succeeds Act

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the newest federal legislation to address the need for consistent and measurable support for all American school children. This act maintains the federal government’s deep-rooted support of fair and equal opportunity for all students and supports the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).

ESSA’s predecessor, No Child Left Behind (NCLB), was enacted in 2002 under the Bush administration. NCLB provided significant support for our nation’s most vulnerable children and was considered a positive first step. While NCLB’s emphasis on academic measures of success was deemed important, the Obama administration also felt that non-academic measures should be taken into account (this includes social emotional learning or SEL). With it’s framework in mind, the administration worked with educators and families over the course of three years to develop what is now called ESSA. With the support of Congress, the final provision was signed on December 10, 2015.

For most school districts, ESSA will begin in the 2017-2018 school year.

How does ESSA affect me?

Beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, all public schools will be required to comply with ESSA. Although recent legislation has significantly changed the requirements for implementation, Secretary DeVos is still encouraging schools to comply with the law as stated and to make no changes to their implementation plans.

As part of ESSA implementation, schools will need to develop effective ways to assess students’ “non-academic” competencies, which includes social and emotional learning. Aperture Education provides a research-based system for assessing, interpreting, and developing a student’s social and emotional progress. Our system is in alignment with ESSA and is ready and available for use.

If you are interested in exploring our product, the Evo Social/Emotional, we encourage you to try a FREE 60-day Trial.

What does Social and Emotional Learning Have to do with ESSA?

As part of its implementation, ESSA requires states to have at least one “non-academic indicator” as part of their growth measurement system. Social and emotional learning falls under this category. Because of the research associated with strong social and emotional skills as they relate to academic performance, we believe that this is a strong indicator of student improvement and should be considered as part of a state’s implementation plan.

For more detailed information about the research behind social and emotional learning as an indicator of academic success, visit our Research and Publications Page.

Looking for ESSA Resources?

We want your program to be as prepared as possible for the implementation of ESSA. Check out some of our favorite resources for updates on ESSA legislation changes, funding, and social and emotional learning as it relates to ESSA.

Alliance for Excellent Education
The Alliance for Excellent Education advocates for at-risk middle and high school students by promoting increased education funding. They focus on helping these students graduate from high school as successful and productive members of society.

The 74 Million
The 74 Million is a non-profit news source focused on national education legislation; co-founded by Campbell Brown, former journalist for NBC, CNN, and many other reputable print sources.

National Education Association
NEA has a wonderful support system called the “Opportunity Dashboard” for teachers with specific information about ESSA implementation and funding.

Education Week
EdWeek is a reputable source of information on the latest in federal and state education topics. EdWeek requires a nominal subscription to view most of their material.

American Institutes for Research (AIR) ESSA Co-Pilot
AIR’s ESSA Co-Pilot will help you navigate the most current information, key topics, and research-based resources that you can use in planning and implementing ESSA at the state and local level.