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COVID-19 – Accountability Updates and Resources

As a result of the April 15, 2020, enactment of the 2019 Wisconsin Act 185, the coronavirus relief package, and the ESEA waiver granted by the Department of Education on March 23, all state and federal academic assessment requirements have officially been suspended or waived for 2019-20 and there will be no new ESSA identifications or state accountability report cards issued during the 2020-21 school year

At this point, requirements for the 2020-21 administration of statewide assessments remain unchanged under state and federal law, along with any accountability requirements that result from these data. The Department of Public Instruction is monitoring the situation closely, is working with state and local partners, and will share information as it becomes available. Please see below for more information on the impact of COVID-19 on federal and state accountability in Wisconsin.

ESSA Accountability

There will be no new ESSA identifications (e.g., Comprehensive Support and Improvement) issued during the 2020-21 school year, as these identifications are based on data from school year 2019-20. Schools with ESSA identifications in the 2019-20 school year will retain those identifications in the 2020-21 school year and DPI will continue to support LEAs of these schools.

While there will be no new ESSA identifications issued in 2020-21, we are planning to release informational ESSA Accountability Reports and Progress to Exit Reports in December containing applicable data in absenteeism, graduation, and progress towards English language proficiency. These reports, part of joint federal notifications, are for informational purposes, meant to support and inform continuous improvement.

Please note that IDEA determinations, the other part of joint federal notifications (which are normally released in coordination with ESSA identifications), will be issued during the 2020-21 school year. For more information on IDEA determinations in 2020-21, districts should consult this resource on special education data submission requirements or contact the DPI Special Education team.

State Accountability

2019 Wisconsin Act 185 prohibits the release of school and district accountability report cards in the 2020-21 school year. This means OEA will not issue school or district report cards for 2019-20 (the report cards that would usually be publicly released in November).

OEA has been working with an Accountability Advisory Group of stakeholders across the state, as well as a panel of national experts, to make updates to future state accountability report cards. Though there will be no 2019-20 report cards, OEA is planning to provide accountability preview reports directly to schools and districts via SAFE in January/February of 2021. These preview reports will use data from prior years (i.e., 2018-19 assessment results) to demonstrate the report card calculation and data changes, and will supplement the data available in WISEdash for Districts. Again, these reports will not be released publicly and would primarily serve as a planning tool to support schools and districts in continuous improvement.

Alternate Accountability

In past years, schools participating in alternate accountability have submitted district-supervised evaluation data to OEA towards the end of the school year up until September. This year, because there are no 2019-20 state or federal accountability report cards and ratings due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OEA is not collecting 2019-20 alternate accountability data or forms from schools.

School Year 2020-21 Accountability

As mentioned above, requirements for the 2020-21 administration of statewide assessments remain unchanged under state and federal law, along with any accountability requirements that result from these data. This means that we will plan to release 2020-21 accountability report cards and ESSA identifications during the 2021-22 school year.


Links to Other DPI COVID-19 Resources