Guidance for ESSA State Plan Peer Review Released


Earlier I reported that the U.S. Department of Education (USED) hosted a webinar for State Education Agencies (SEAs) related to issues of submission of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plans and Peer Review of those plans once submitted. That post included the information that only three of the nine ESSA programs included in consolidated state submissions will receive peer review. Those that will receive peer review are:

  • Title I, Part A;
  • Title III; and
  • Title VII, Subpart B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act.


Peer reviewers have been chosen and the USED recently released guidance for peer reviewers titled State Plan Peer Review Criteria. As expected, this guidance only includes information for the review of the three programs listed above. The guidance indicates that USED staff will review the non-peer reviewed sections of ESSA State Plans. According to the guidance, the criteria included in the document “were developed based on the statutory and regulatory requirements and include only those questions that are necessary to help peers assess if each State plan meets those requirements” (page 3).


The nine programs that may be included in an SEA’s ESSA Consolidated State Plan are:

  1. Title I, Part A: Improving Basic Programs Operated by Local Educational Agencies
  2. Title I, Part C: Education of Migratory Children
  3. Title I, Part D: Prevention and Intervention Programs for Children and Youth Who Are Neglected, Delinquent, or At-Risk
  4. Title II, Part A: Supporting Effective Instruction
  5. Title III, Part A: English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement
  6. Title IV, Part A: Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants
  7. Title IV, Part B: 21st Century Community Learning Centers
  8. Title V, Part B, Subpart 2: Rural and Low-Income School Program
  9. Title VII, Subpart B of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act: Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program (McKinney-Vento Act)


Peer review is the process used by USED to have national experts and education stakeholders review ESSA State Plans to ensure that they meet the intent and requirements of the law. USED has selected peer reviewers and has contacted them with initial instructions. Training dates will be set for early April with on-site review of ESSA State Plans in Washington, DC in late May. Peer reviewer identities will not be revealed until peer review of all ESSA State Plans is complete.


If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact us at 425.977.2100, Option 3 or email at

Dr. David Holbrook

About The Author

Dr. David Holbrook is a nationally recognized leader in federal programs administration and monitoring with expertise in Title I, Title III, Native American Education, and Federal Programs. Dr. Holbrook has also worked as a consultant with Title III of the US Department of Education and now serves as Executive Director, Federal Compliance and State Relationships with TransAct.