Laura Chapman read the post about the U.S. Department of Education threatening to cut off $340 million in Title 1 funding from Arizona unless all high school students took the same test—either the state test or the SAT or the ACT. She pored through the Every Student Succeeds Act and could find no legal basis for this threat.

Laura Chapman writes:

I have spent several hours looking at ESSA. I could find nothing about specific tests other than those required for the International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement. Neither the SAT or ACT is mentioned but there are technical requirements for ESSA accountability tests. As Diane notes, the SAT and the ACT are designed for college admission, not as a high school accountability test or a test aligned with state standards, a requirement for ESSA. Use for high school accountability is in violation of ESSA. I do not understand why EdWeek and state officials think SAT or ACT tests are OK. Here are a few relevant sections of ESSA.

(A) IN GENERAL.—Each State plan shall demonstrate that the State educational agency, in consultation with local educational agencies, has implemented a set of high-quality student academic assessments in mathematics, reading or language arts, and science. The State retains the right to implement such assessments in any other subject chosen by the State.
(B) REQUIREMENTS.—The assessments under subparagraph (A) shall—be
(I) the same academic assessments used to measure the achievement of all public elementary school and secondary school students in the State; and (II) administered to all public elementary school and secondary school students in the State; (ii) be aligned with the challenging State academic standards, and provide coherent and timely information about student attainment of such standards and whether the student is performing at the student’s grade level; (iii) be used for purposes for which such assessments are valid and reliable, consistent with relevant, nationally recognized professional and technical testing standards, objectively measure academic achievement, knowledge, and skills, and be tests that do not evaluate or assess personal or family beliefs and attitudes, or publicly disclose personally identifiable information; (iv) be of adequate technical quality for each purpose required under this Act and consistent with the requirements of this section, the evidence of which shall be made public, including on the website of the State educational agency;
(v) (I) in the case of mathematics and reading or language arts, be administered— (aa) in each of grades 3 through 8; and (bb) at least once in grades 9 through 12;
(II) in the case of science, be administered not less than one time during—(aa) grades 3 through 5; (bb) grades 6 through 9; and (cc) grades 10 through 12; and
(III) in the case of any other subject chosen by the State, be administered at the discretion of the State.” find that and more beginning on page 24 in the ESSA pdf

In addition, Betsy cannot tell states what tests to use. There are multiple prohibitions in ESSA, and this is a variant of long established federal law governing the US Office of Education.

SEC. 2302. 020 U.S.C. 6692 RULES OF CONSTRUCTION. (a) PROHIBITION AGAINST FEDERAL MANDATES, DIRECTION, OR CONTROL.—Nothing in this title shall be construed to authorize the Secretary or any other officer or employee of the Federal Government to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s—
(1) instructional content or materials, curriculum, program of instruction, academic standards, or academic assessments;
(2) teacher, principal, or other school leader evaluation system;
(3) specific definition of teacher, principal, or other school leader effectiveness; or
(4) teacher, principal, or other school leader professional standards, certification, or licensing. p.196

ESSA also has stipulations about informing parents about opt out policies.

There is much else in ESSA. It should be repealed and replaced with a bare minimum document for distributing federal funds to the schools and students most in need. ESSA turns the idea of accountability into an extended effort to micromanage public education and de-professionalize the work of educators. I became an involuntary expert on NCLB. ESSA is a nightmare. It is filled with contradictions, planned loopholes, gotchas. word salads. It gives legitamacy to too many really bad ideas from amateurs and reformers.