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Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) Title I Paraprofessionals Hiring Requirements

Stricter Hiring Requirements outlined in Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015

The reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), also known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, changed requirements for paraprofessionals. As in the past, paraprofessionals working in Title I programs or in Title I schoolwide buildings still must hold a high school diploma. They must further demonstrate qualifications.

Section 1111 (g) (2) (J) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that the State educational agency will ensure that all paraprofessionals working in a program supported with funds under Title I, Part  A meet applicable State certification requirements. Additionally, Section 1111 (g)(2)(M) requires that the State has Professional Standards in place for paraprofessionals, "including qualifications that were in place on the day before the date of enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act."  

Hiring Requirement Options

Therefore, Local Education Agencies (LEAs) are required to have all instructional paraprofessionals in Title I schoolwide buildings and all instructional paraprofessionals who are funded by Title I and working in a Title I Targeted Assistance program meet hiring requirements.

Video Transcript

The WI Title I Paraprofessional Hiring Implementation Guide

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The WI Title I Paraprofessional Hiring Implementation Guide details the hiring requirements of paraprofessionals employed (even if only a portion of the day) in a Title I Targeted Assistance Program or in a Title I schoolwide building, as well as addresses all school support staff including those working under Title III and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Features and resources contained in the Guide include: 

Overview of the Hiring Requirements

Title I paraprofessional Hiring Requirements

  • Have obtained an associate (or higher) degree, or
  • Have at least two years of post-secondary education that is equivalent to at least 48 semester hours from an accredited higher education institution, or
  • Have met a rigorous standard of quality and be able to demonstrate knowledge of and the ability to assist in instructing reading, writing, and mathematics (or, as appropriate, reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness) by taking and passing one of the required assessments.

After July 1, 2017, the required assessment options include: (criteria is to be met or exceeded)

WorkKeys ACT

(normed assessment)

Proficiency Score:

Applied Mathematics: 4

Workplace Documents Assessment: 4

Business Writing Assessment or The Graphic Literacy Assessment: 3

ACT website
ACT study guide
Contact info

Parapro-Assessment ETS

(normed assessment)

Proficiency Score:



ETS website
ETS study guide
Contact info

ParaEducator Master Teacher

(normed assessment)

Proficiency Score:

Assessment 1 -
Instructional Support: 65%
Assessment 2 -
Content & Application: 70%

Master Teacher website
Master Teacher study guide
Contact information

Authentic Portfolio

(local assessment)

The paraprofessional compiles a portfolio of artifacts and evidence to demonstrate knowledge and proficiency in the WI Paraprofessional Standards.

Using the Paraprofessional Portfolio Documentation form, the paraprofessional outlines the included documentation aligned to each competency for each standard. The form and all portfolio artifacts are submitted to the LEA. The LEA may then document scores for each standard competency on the Paraprofessional Portfolio Review form. For more information, see page 11 the WI Title I Paraprofessional Hiring Implementation Guide, and Appendix E for the forms.