As states consider how their accountability systems will change under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), they face important decisions about which high school assessments to incorporate, what content their assessments will measure, which tests all students will take, and how rigorous those assessments will be. ESSA requires that each state administer a statewide assessment to all students to assess proficiency in English language arts (ELA)/literacy and mathematics at least once in high school and include these results in school and district accountability systems as a measure of student achievement. States must also assess students in high school in science but are not required to include a measure of science achievement in their high school accountability systems.
The purpose of this brief is to examine which ELA/literacy, mathematics, and science assessments states are using to measure high school students’ achievement within each state’s accountability system and what specific content or grades have been assessed. Achieve hopes that understanding the current landscape — and the vast variations — might push states’ thinking about what future assessment requirements ought to be and how states can create a more coherent assessment and accountability system that better meets the goal of graduating all students college and career ready.