Sections 1111(g)(2)(J) and 1111(g)(2)(M) of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) require all teachers and paraeducators working in a program supported with Title I funds meet applicable state certification and licensure requirements.
(J) the State educational agency will ensure that all teachers and paraprofessionals working in a program supported with funds under this part meet applicable State certification and licensure requirements, including any requirements for certification obtained through alternative routes to certification;
(M) the State has professional standards for paraprofessionals working in a program supported with funds under this part, including qualifications that were in place on the day before the date of enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The qualifications for paraeducators are listed in 34 CFR 200.58 and are the same assurances that were required before December 10, 2015, when ESSA was enacted.
Paraeducators working in a program supported with Title I, Part A funds must have a secondary school diploma or its recognized equivalent. Paraeducators must meet the additional qualifying educational requirement through one of the following factors:
(A) Completed at least two years of study at an institution of higher education;
(B) Obtained an associate's (or higher) degree; or
(C) Met a rigorous standard of quality and can demonstrate, through a formal State or local academic assessment – knowledge of, and the ability to assist in instructing, as appropriate
(i) Reading/language arts, writing, and mathematics; or
(ii) Reading readiness, writing readiness, and mathematics readiness.
Qualifying Educational Requirement Definitions
The following qualifications are provided by the US Department of
Education in the Title I Paraprofessional Non-Regulatory Guidance:
“Two years of study” means the equivalent or two years of full-time study,
as defined by the institution of higher education (IHE). For some IHEs that may
mean 12 credit hours per semester (requiring a total of 48 credit hours), while
in others it may mean 15 credit hours a semester (requiring a total of 60
ESSA 8101(29) incorporates the definition of institution of higher
education found in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act. It defines an
“institution of higher education” as an educational institution in any State
Admits as regular students only persons having a certificate of
graduation from a school providing secondary education, or the recognized
equivalent of such a certificate;
Is legally authorized within such State to provide a program of
education beyond secondary education;
Provides an educational program for which the institution awards a
bachelor’s degree or provides not less than a two-year program that is
acceptable for full credit toward such a degree;
Is a public or other non-profit institution; and
Is accredited by such an agency or association that has been recognized
by the Secretary for the granting of pre-accreditation status, and the
Secretary has determined that there is satisfactory assurance that the
institution will meet the accreditation standards of such an agency or
association within a reasonable time.
The Kentucky Paraeducator Assessment
The assessment used in Kentucky to demonstrate the abilities outlined in subpart C is the Kentucky Paraeducator Assessment (KPA). The KPA consists of 60 multiple choice questions designed to assess the skills mentioned above. At least 48 of the 60 questions must be answered correctly in order to pass the KPA.
It is the responsibility of the local school district to administer the KPA. The KPA is typically administered at either the district office or a local adult education center. Records of KPA test takers and scores are not currently maintained by KDE or the Educational Professional Standards Board (EPSB). For information regarding times and testing locations, contact your local school district.
The Kentucky Paraeducator Assessment Study Guide (revised 2nd edition, October 2009) will provide the applicant with information on the role of the paraeducator and the strategies for assisting with student instruction. Review of this guide will help prepare test takers for the KPA.