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Less Testing = More Learning

Not only does the Every Student Succeeds Act take steps to reduce the amount of standardized testing, it decouples testing and high-stakes decision making—a major improvement over No Child Left Behind’s one-size-fits-all approach to accountability and the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria for granting waivers to the law.


  • Eliminates Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP), the impossible one size fits all goal driving No Child Left Behind’s failed accountability system
  • Incorporates the SMART Act to provide funding for states to audit and streamline assessments, and eliminate those that are unnecessary or duplicative
  • Creates a state pilot program (in seven states initially, then could be available to all) for local assessments driven by teaching and learning, not accountability alone, that could be used in place of the state’s standardized tests
  • Requires school districts to inform parents and guardians of opt-out policies, and allows them to have their children opt out of statewide standardized tests where state and local policies permit
  • Allows states to set a cap limiting the amount of time students spend taking annual standardized tests
  • Continues annual statewide standardized tests in reading and math in grades 3-8 and once in high schools, but districts could seek approval to use the SAT, ACT, another nationally recognized assessment, or Advanced Placement assessments to fulfill the high school requirement—a potential reduction in federally-required standardized testing

Download this document: Less Testing = More Learning ( PDF, 106 KB, 1 pg.)

SPRING INTO ESSA: Season of Action 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) presents an opportunity to ensure success for each and every student. This opportunity will only be realized if educators lead implementation, make our voices heard and work with our communities to advocate on behalf of students. Join us!

Sample School Board Resolution: Click here

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ESSA: 5 Steps to Creating Your Local’s ESSA Team


With Passage of Every Student Succeeds Act, Life After NCLB Begins

On December 10, President Obama, with a stroke of a pen, made it official: the No Child Left Behind era is over. 

Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), one day after it was passed by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote in the U.S. Senate, which followed broad passage in the House.


Network Letter to Secretary King on ESSA Implementation

Testimony of Beck Pringle on ESSA Implementation

Educators Spoke Congress Listened

Why educators support ESSA

ESSA Comments to the Department of Education

NEA welcomes historic step to usher in new era in public education

NEA president supports the Every Student Succeeds Act

NEA president marks 40th anniversary of landmark IDEA legislation

NEA president encouraged by bipartisan and bicameral approach to fix broken law