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PACE Assessment Approved By Feds

The U.S. Department of Education has approved an ESSA waiver request by the New Hampshire Department of Education concerning assessment of some students.

CONCORD, NH – The federal government has approved a waiver under the Section 1204 Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) from certain federal student assessment regulations for its Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE). In April, the New Hampshire Department of Education applied for the Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority authorized in the law. In June, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) requested more information to determine if PACE was compatible to the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment System (NHSAS), to ensure that student academic achievement goals were met and were equitable.

The USED then requested a multi-year budget for the first four years of the demonstration and evidence that sufficient quality control procedures existed for scoring locally developed performance tasks. The department was also asked to provide a specific timeline for an external evaluation of PACE.

After receiving the request for more information, the NH DOE worked with the Center for Assessment to develop a detailed response that provided technical reports showing PACE to be comparable to the NH SAS. The NH DOE also assured the federal government that it would conduct a thorough peer review process of PACE during the 2018-2019 school year.

“The approval of the demonstration is welcome news for schools and school districts that have been working with PACE under the previous waiver for the past few years,” said Julie Couch, the administrator of the Bureau of Instructional Support and Student Assessment at the NH DOE. “There should be no disruption for students or educators. Everything that has been put in place to support PACE should preserve student opportunity over time.”

New Hampshire and Louisiana are the only two states in the United States to receive Innovative Assessment Demonstration Authority approvals, according to USED Secretary Betsy DeVos. In a statement, she said she was “thrilled” that Commissioner Frank Edelblut and the department had stepped up to the plate to utilize the flexibility afforded by ESSA.

“This pilot program gives states the opportunity to make assessments more relevant to classroom learning while still providing important information about student achievement and growth,” DeVos added.

New Hampshire Department of Education
101 Pleasant Street | Concord, NH | 03301-3494
Telephone: (603) 271-3494 | TDD Access: Relay NH 711