This is the first paper in a series of two discussing systems of school identification and support
under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The purpose of this paper is to provide a fairly
comprehensive overview of the federal law and key design considerations for states as they
develop and revise their systems of school identification under ESSA. States will be required to
identify schools in need of Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI), Targeted Support
and Improvement (TSI), Additional Targeted Support (ATSI), and any additional state-determined
categories of schools. In all cases, identification must be informed by all of the state’s ESSA
accountability indicators and the system of annual meaningful differentiation; however, depending
on the category of support, states have varying degrees of flexibility in how they choose to use
their accountability system to identify schools.
The first part of this paper provides annotated
excerpts of the relevant ESSA language and offers additional clarification and summary. In the
second part, we discuss the importance of defining a system of identification that aligns to the
state’s theory of action and resources and key policy levers that serve to support that goal.