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Federal Accountability (ESSA)

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.

Addendum Update

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.


ESSA Timeline Graphic


ESSA Identifications

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-Low Graduation Rate
    3. 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 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.