Federal ESSA Identification System
The federal education law - the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) - 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.
In the spring of 2022, DPI applied for and received approval for a short-term addendum to Wisconsin’s ESSA plan due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. See materials below to learn more about the addendum.
Importantly, Wisconsin’s addendum shifts ESSA timelines forward by two years. Please see the updated ESSA Identification Timeline for details on how the timelines will work moving forward.
The ESSA Accountability system ultimately functions as a federal identification system in which there are three identification categories:
- Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI)
- CSI-Lowest Performance
- CSI-Low Graduation Rate
- CSI-ATSI Conversion
- Targeted Support and Improvement Schools
- Targeted Support (TSI)
- Additional Targeted Support (ATSI)
- 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.
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.
The joint federal identification (ESSA and IDEA) process aligns with coordinated improvement supports for schools and districts. The bulk of these supports are available statewide, to all schools and districts. By definition, the ESSA accountability system identifies a portion of schools, but because all schools have opportunities to improve, our intent is to support all schools and districts in their improvement efforts.
- 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.
ESSA Accountability Overview – general overview of Wisconsin’s federal ESSA accountability system.
Crosswalk of Accountability in Wisconsin – outlines the similarities and differences between Wisconsin’s state and federal ESSA accountability systems.
- ESSA Business Rules Brief – overview and details of the five accountability indicators, scoring, and weighting used in Wisconsin’s federal ESSA accountability system.
- Exiting an ESSA Identification – overview and details of the requirements and process for exiting an ESSA identification.
- ESSA Identification Timeline – expanded version of the ESSA identification timeline above.
- ESSA Accountability Report Guide – walkthrough of an example ESSA accountability report.