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Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed by President Obama on December 10, 2015. This bipartisan measure reauthorizes the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law and longstanding commitment to equal opportunity for all students. For current information about ESSA and associated resources go to

For the full Bill text go to

The most direct impact of ESSA (and ESEA) on assistive technology is in the area of accessible assessments. ESSA includes a requirement that assessments used to satisfy the requirements of ESSA (for required academic assessments) --

Shall ‘‘be developed, to the extent practicable, using the principles of universal design for learning”
Shall ‘‘be accessible to all students, such as by incorporating the principles of universal design for learning”
Shall provide for “the appropriate accommodations, such as interoperability with, and ability to use, assistive technology, for children with disabilities”

Negotiated rulemaking is ongoing and may provide additional guidance regarding the use of assistive technology during required assessments when the Department of Education publishes final rules.

One helpful resource on the legal right to accessible assessments and accommodations on standardized assessment has been provided by the Department of Justice and can be found at:

ATAP Comments on ESSA

PDF Document IconAccountability Letter on Title 1 ESSA Proposed Rules.pdf
PDF Document IconAssessment Letter on Title 1 ESSA Proposed Rules