Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA is a reauthorization of federal education law, replacing the prior reauthorization known as No Child Left Behind. It was implemented in school year 2017-18. The Hawai‘i DOE's state ESSA plan for federal funding under the law, led by our Strategic Plan, was approved by the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) in January 2018.


The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is a reauthorization of the federal education law known as the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). It replaces the prior reauthorization known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). ESSA was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Dec. 10, 2015 and had broad bipartisan support in Congress. The law was implemented in school year 2017-18. Hawaii's plan addresses how it will use federal funds for public education; federal funds account for about 14 percent of the HIDOE operating budget (about $270 million in FY19).

ESSA granted more flexibility to states than NCLB to set education priorities. Hawaii took advantage of this by updating the Strategic Plan to align to its requirements, conducting a year-long outreach effort to gather input from students, families and communities about their expectations of their public schools and desired outcomes for graduates. Hawaii's accountability system, Strive HI, which provides annual report cards on the academic and readiness progress of students and schools, is also aligned with ESSA requirements.

Under ESSA, states must set rigorous academic standards, assess students in core subjects, report progress data, set teacher qualifications, and report per-pupil expenditures. HIDOE released the LEI Public ESSA dashboard at: hidoedata.org in 2019. State and school-level reports can be found at: arch.k12.hi.us/reports/essa.

What's the differences between the ARCH website and LEI Public ESSA dashboard? Download this overview.

For information on navigating the LEI Public ESSA dashboard, please watch the following video:


The USDOE has the full text of the law and other resources posted here: http://www.ed.gov/essaLearn more in the FAQs below.

​​​​​​​​​​​Frequently Asked Questions

When did ESSA begin?

ESSA is authorized for federal FY 2017-20 and HIDOE implemented ESSA in SY 2017-18. BACK TO TOP

How will ESSA change Hawaii’s academic standards?

The requirements of ESSA are:

States must adopt challenging standards in reading, math and science, aligned to credit-bearing college entrance requirements and technical standards. States must also maintain English language development standards aligned to content standards.
Hawaii meets the ESSA requirements with the BOE’s adoption in 2010 of the Hawaii Common Core for English language arts and math and the 2016 adoption of the Next Generation Science Standards. The 2009 BOE adoption of the WIDA English Language Development Standards satisfies the requirement for English language development standards. BACK TO TOP

How does ESSA impact assessments in Hawaii?

The requirements are:

States must assess students in grades 3-8 and once in high school in reading and math; once in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 10-12 in science; and in English language proficiency.

Hawaii meets the requirements in ESSA with these statewide assessments of students:

ESSA also supports states’ efforts to reduce testing. Hawaii has already taken steps to streamline the state assessment portfolio. (See our factsheet​ on student testing.) HIDOE reviews its testing portfolio annually to ensure that required statewide assessments are meeting the purposes for which they are administered. In addition to federally-required assessments, schools and teachers select or create assessments to inform planning for learning by teachers, schools, and policymakers and to validate and report students' academic progress to students, their family, lawmakers and the community. BACK TO TOP

What about opting out of tests?

ESSA requires that all schools and the state be held accountable for testing at least 95 percent of their students. States that fail to meet the 95 percent participation requirement risk losing federal funds. 

ESSA also respects state authority by preventing the federal law from superseding any state laws with respect to a parent or guardian’s decision on participating in assessments. The law requires that, upon request, parents be provided with information regarding state policy, procedures, and parental rights regarding student participation in mandated assessments. Hawai‘i does not have an opt-out policy and encourages every student to participate in testing to provide information about their individual progress as well as progress of the student's school and the state.​ BACK TO TOP​ ​​

How does ESSA impact school accountability?

The Strive HI Performance System is Hawaii's school accountability system designed to meet the needs of students, educators and schools. Strive HI provides comprehensive data on school and statewide student performance. The ESSA school accountability requirements are embedded in Strive HI. Learn more about the Strive HI System here.

Here’s an overview of what ESSA requires for school accountability systems and how HIDOE stacks up against those requirements:

GOALSESSA replaces NCLB’s Adequate Yearly Progress with state-defined goals:

  • Achievement on state assessments;
  • High school graduation rates; and
  • English language proficiency for English Language Learners.

HIDOE has aligned these goals with our Strategic Plan targets.

MEASURES: HIDOE uses the ESSA-required measures to identify schools with the most struggling students that need additional support:

  • Academic achievement as measured by annual statewide assessments in language arts and mathematics,
  • Student Growth for elementary and middle schools,
  • Graduation rate for high schools,
  • Progress in achieving English language proficiency for English learners, and
  • Chronic absenteeism, which Hawaii has selected as the school quality or student success measure. 

SUBGROUPS: ESSA requires that data on the performance of subgroups of students also be reported. HIDOE provides data for the following subgroups:

  • Economically disadvantaged students
  • Students with disabilities (students receiving special education services)
  • English learners
  • Major racial or ethnic groups of students: Native Hawaiian, Filipino, White, Asian (excluding Filipino), Pacific Islander (excluding Native Hawaiian), Hispanic, Black.
  • Homeless students
  • Migratory students
  • Students in foster care
  • Students with parents in the military

SUPPORTING SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT: Comprehensive and targeted supports will be provided to schools with the most struggling students or struggling subgroups of students. To meet ESSA requirements, HIDOE will: 

  • Every 3 years, identify and support schools that: (1) are the lowest-performing 5% of Title I schools, (2) have graduation rates at or less than 67%, or (3) have the lowest-performing subgroups of students. 
  • States also have to identify schools with consistently underperforming subgroups.


How does ESSA impact expectations of teachers?

HIDOE uses the Hawaii Qualified Teacher designation to meet the law's requirements. This includes:

  1. Teachers must hold a valid Hawaii Teachers Standards Board (HTSB) teaching license in the subject area and grade level for the teaching assignment, or
  2. Teachers can hold a valid Hawaii Qualified Teacher certificate by having a valid HTSB License in any subject area for the grade level assigned and also meeting one of the following requirements:
  1. Passed the Praxis Content Exam or other accepted content exam for the subject area and grade level, or
  2. Holds a valid National Board Certificate for the subject area, or
  3. Earned a College major or 30 credits in the subject area, or
  4. Completed an approved ESSA Hawaii Qualified Teacher Rubric in the subject area, or
  5. Earned a Hawaii issued Highly Qualified Teacher certificate in the subject area.


How does ESSA impact educator evaluations?

ESSA is silent on criteria for educator evaluations. In Hawai‘i, state law, BOE policies, collective bargaining agreements, and memoranda of understanding with the unions provide the mandate and policy framework for educator evaluations (Hawai‘i’s educator evaluations are CESSA and EES). ESSA requires that the state report the percentage of teachers who are "ineffective." HIDOE plans to report the percentage of teachers who are rated at less than "effective" on EES. BACK TO TOP

How does ESSA impact financial reporting?

ESSA has a per-pupil expenditure (PPE) reporting requirement, as follows: 

“Each State report card… shall include the following:… the per-pupil expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, including actual personnel expenditures and actual nonpersonnel expenditures of Federal, State, and local funds, disaggregated by source of funds, for each local educational agency and each school in the State…" [ESEA Sec. 1111(h)(1)C)(x)] 

Hawaii DOE is reporting the PPE for the state and each school in the state beginning with Fiscal Year 2017-2018. This information was reported to the Board of Education on January 17, 2019 and these expenditures in the aggregate are part of our budget reporting to the Legislature with the Fiscal 2019-2021 request. (See chart.) To learn more about how PPE is calculated at these various levels, and to understand the factors that drive variances between schools, please review:


How does ESSA affect charter schools?

Similar to NCLB, ESSA also applies to charter schools, since charters are public schools. Some examples of how this applies to charters, include:

  • Charters must be included in the Strive HI Performance System;
  • Charters must implement the academic standards adopted by the BOE;
  • Charters must administer the statewide assessments; and
  • Charter schools must comply with the federal requirements regarding expenditure of federal funds.

In addition, ESSA increases funding and makes changes to the pre-existing federal Charter Schools Program — a competitive grant program that supports replication and expansion of high performing charter schools; credit enhancement and facilities funds; and replication and expansion of charter management organizations. There are stringent assurances that state entities interested in applying for the grant must meet, including but not limited to ensuring that charters have a high degree of autonomy that is balanced with quality authorizing that includes assessments of annual school data on student performance (graduation rates, academic growth, student attrition); annual audits of financial statements; and holding schools accountable to academic, financial and operational quality controls. BACK TO TOP

How does ESSA impact English Learners?

Improving language proficiency of this student subgroup is enshrined in the Strive HI Performance System. Progress to English Language Proficiency is based on the percentage of students who are proficient or on-track to proficiency on the ACCESS for ELLs, and applies to all students (Full School Year and non-FSY) taking the ACCESS for ELLs for two or more consecutive years. Because first year results are for baseline purposes, students’ second (or last tested) year results that either meet or are on-track to meet proficiency are counted towards the rate.  BACK TO TOP

How does ESSA impact the Native Hawaiian Education Act (NHEA)?

NHEA continues under Title VI, which provides grants for Native Hawaiian early learning, curriculum development and more. These grants are competitive federal grants awarded by the USDOE to educational organizations, community-based organizations, nonprofit organizations, and charter schools. Applicants must submit their proposals to HIDOE for comment prior to submission. BACK TO TOP

Does ESSA have any impact on private schools?

As a State Educational Agency (SEA), HIDOE is responsible under federal law for ensuring equitable services are provided for private school children, teachers, and other educational personnel. LEARN MORE

How was the Hawaii Consolidated State Plan formulated?

The U.S. Department of Education approved the Hawaii Consolidated State Plan on January 19, 2018. It was unanimously approved by the Board of Education on September 5, 2017 and signed by Gov. David Ige and Supt. Christina Kishimoto.

What other federal laws impact state education agencies?
ESSA is one of the federal laws impacting public education in Hawai‘i. Others are the Patsy Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (Title IX, Civil Rights Act), Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, and the National School Lunch Act. BACK TO TOP


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