Arkansas's ESSA Plan is a work in process, and the state needs stakeholder input to improve the draft prior to final submission to the U.S. Department of Education. Please review and submit feedback to specific elements of the plan from this page.

Support and Accountability

To move toward the state's vision, the state's educational support and accountability system must include many ways of recognizing student success and school quality. The department will support both state and local decision-making to create and enhance effective student-focused learning systems. The Arkansas Department of Education's accountability system is reporting data about:

  • Achievement
  • Growth
  • Graduation Rate
  • English Learners
  • School Quality and Student Success

The state is making a significant shift in the way it thinks about student learning and the systems that support it. To do this, the department has honored the work that came before by applying lessons learned from past systems. Now more than ever, states have the freedom to focus on what matters for their local schools.


The state adopted high-quality assessments to measure college- and career-readiness based on the recommendation from the Governor’s Council on Common Core. The council conducted numerous hearings and received public feedback regarding standards and assessments. They proposed recommendations to the Governor’s office to revise the math and literacy standards and change the state assessment to ACT Aspire for the 2016–2017 school year.

The state is focusing assessment efforts on those that inform the local cycle of inquiry in schools, bringing real information to the classroom for student benefit. Currently, the department is exploring additional measures of School Quality and Student Success based on stakeholder input, including Pre-ACT or PSAT for grade 10 and WorkKeys for grade 12 to measure career-readiness.

Educator Equity and Effectiveness

The department will focus Title II, Part A funds on key activities to address our workforce priorities of attracting, preparing, supporting, and developing effective teachers and leaders. Through stakeholder feedback, the state developed definitions for reporting, data analysis, and decision-making and will work within a structure of tiered district support. 

These actions are timely given the status of Arkansas’s teacher pipeline and changes in the workforce. Over the past five years, the enrollment in educator preparation programs has declined by over 50%. The department is taking action now to enhance the skills of educators, grow our own talent, and honor the profession that works with Arkansas students and schools every day.

English Learners

The department has worked to develop a statewide education long-term plan for English Learners who are in the K–12 education system. The plan addresses gaps and unequal outcomes by examining and applying culturally appropriate best practices. Arkansas's Title III currently serves 42 districts which are collaborating with the department to improve outcomes for their English learners. Some of the supports provided include:

  • State funding
  • Coaching
  • Specialized professional development
  • District-identified needs assessment
  • Culturally responsive support

School Support and Improvement

The department will help LEAs as the state transitions from its former statewide system of support, which focused on the school as the focus of support. Now, we the state is shifting toward supporting and empowering LEAs to improve their struggling schools and make significant progress toward closing long-standing achievement gaps.

The state will collaborate and coordinate with the Educational Service Cooperatives to more efficiently and effectively support and monitor LEA school improvement planning and implementation. The Arkansas Department of Education will sponsor department-wide regional conferences to disseminate key information regarding:

  • Support
  • Services
  • Requirements
  • Effective evidence-based strategies designed to raise achievement, etc.