What is ESSA?

ESSA is the Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into federal law on December 10, 2015. The Every Student Succeeds Act reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. ESSA will take effect on July 1, 2016, and schools are projected to implement new policies and procedures by the 2017-2018 academic year.

Among a number of changes, states will develop their own plans regarding how curriculum and assessments will comply with federal requirements. The new law continues to focus on student level assessments for all students in reading and mathematics in grades 3-8, science assessments at least once in the elementary grades and at least once in the middle grades, college and career readiness in the high school grades, and accountability for all student subgroups. The state's accountability plan will include goals for academic indicators (improved academic achievement on the state assessments, a measure of student growth or other statewide academic indicators for elementary and middle schools, graduation rates for high schools, and progress in achieving proficiency for English Learners), a measure of school quality and student success (examples include student and educator engagement, access and completion of advanced coursework, post-secondary readiness, school climate, and safety), and participation rates on statewide assessments.

NC’s state plan was approved by the State Board of Education at its September board meeting and will be submitted to the USED by September 18, 2017. NC’s state plan (although not yet approved by the federal government) takes effect during the 2017-2018 school year.


Below are resources that may be helpful to stakeholders, educators, coordinators, and administrators for staying informed about the legislation.

General Resources

Arts Education Resources