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Federal Accountability (ESSA)

Note: DPI has been granted a waiver by the Department of Education from federal ESSA accountability provisions resulting from 2020-21 school year data. This waiver approval means that:

  • There will be no new CSI, TSI, and ATSI identifications in school year 2021-22 (identifications that would normally take place in December 2021).
  • Schools with existing identifications will retain these identifications, along with any support that goes along with identifications, for the next school year.
  • DPI will report data for informational purposes, including results disaggregated by the student group.

Please see our Accountability COVID-19 page for more details. 

Federal Identification System

The federal education law - the Every Student Succeeds Act - requires the identification of the lowest performing public schools and schools with low performing student groups in each state. Wisconsin's plan was approved by the US Department of Education in January 2018.

The ESSA Accountability system ultimately functions as a federal identification system in which there are three identification categories:

  1. Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI)
    1. CSI-Lowest Performance
    2. CSI-Lowest Graduation Rate
    3. CSI-Lowest Performance and Low Graduation Rate
    4. CSI-ATSI Conversion
  2. Targeted Support and Improvement Schools
    1. Targeted Support (TSI)
    2. Additional Targeted Support (ATSI)
  3. Not Identified

The Office of Educational Accountability has created a file of schools identified for Comprehensive, Targeted, and Additional Targeted Support by identification year. For a summary of the federal accountability system, along with detailed descriptions of the identification categories, please see our ESSA Accountability Overview

ESSA Accountability Reporting

While the federal system is intended to identify the schools most in need of support and improvement, DPI will report results for all public schools in the state (including those with no identifications) because providing data to educators working to close Wisconsin's achievement gaps is critically important.

Click here for ESSA Accountability Reports

Note:  unlike the state accountability system, ESSA only applies to public schools; it does not apply to private schools participating in the Parental Choice Programs.

Available Supports

The joint federal identification (ESSA and IDEA) process aligns with  coordinated improvement supports for schools and districts. The bulk of these supports will be available statewide, to all schools and districts. By definition, the ESSA accountability system identifies a portion of schools. But because all schools have achievement gaps, our intent is for the statewide system of support to help make the school improvement process more manageable and more impactful for all schools and districts, whether identified or not.


  • ESSA Accountability Overview – a summary of the federal identification system, as well as DPI's approach to reporting and supporting schools throughout the state.
  • Accountability Crosswalk – a comparison of the federal and Wisconsin state accountability systems.
  • Business Rules Brief– details on the calculations and business rules applied in the federal accountability system.
  • ESSA Identification Exit Scenarios – description of the processes for exiting CSI and ATSI identifications through common scenarios and questions. 
  • Wisconsin ESSA plan – contains specifics on the identification process and the associated improvement requirements for identified schools.
  • DPI Federal Notifications Page – complete overview of the federal notifications process and links to additional supports and resources.