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Federal Accountability (ESSA)

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. Each state outlined their plans for this new federal accountability system, in which the state detailed their accountability indicators, and methodologies for scoring and reporting performance on the indicators in plans submitted to the US Department of Education. Wisconsin's plan was approved by the US Department of Education in January 2018, and DPI issued preliminary identifications in December 2018. Final ESSA identifications were released to the public on March 5, 2019 and can be accessed here:

The ESSA Accountability system ultimately functions as a federal identification system in which there are two identification categories, and two types of identifications within each category.

  1. Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI)
    1. CSI-Low Performance
    2. CSI-Low Graduation Rate
  2. Targeted Support and Improvement Schools (TSI)
    1. Targeted Support
    2. Additional Targeted Support

For a summary of the federal accountability system, please refer to the ESSA Accountability Overview. For specifics on the identification process and the associated improvement requirements for identified schools, details are provided in the state’s proposed ESSA plan.

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. The ESSA Accountability Reports along with the statewide identification data are publicly reported here:

Available Supports

The joint federal identification (ESSA and IDEA) process coincide with the launch of our newly coordinated improvement supports for schools and districts. The newly coordinated statewide supports will be available to all schools and districts whether they are identified or not. By definition, the ESSA accountability system identifies a portion of schools. But because all schools have achievement gaps, the statewide system of support is available to all schools and districts in Wisconsin. Our intent is to make the school improvement process not only more manageable, but also more impactful, regardless of federal identifications.

Resource Spotlight

  • The ESSA Accountability Overview summarizes the basics of the federal identification system, as well as DPI's approach to reporting and supporting schools throughout the state.
  • Unlike the state accountability system, ESSA only applies to public schools; it does not apply to private schools participating in the Parental Choice Programs. To compare the state and federal accountability systems, please refer to the Accountability Crosswalk.