ERIC Number: ED447604
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
"Tough Love": State Accountability Policies Push Student Achievement.
Insights on Education iPolicy, Practice, and Research, n11 Aug 2000
State leaders are using complex accountability systems, composed of standards, assessments, public reporting, rewards, and sanctions, to raise student, school, and district achievement. The public strongly supports making academic standards more challenging, despite a lack of consensus on content and outcomes. Some states may revise standards until other reforms are in place. Student scores are now the primary indicator of district, school, teacher, and student achievement, with 48 states administering statewide testing using a mix of tools, including norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests, performance assessments, and some evaluating attendance and dropout rates. The significant consequences of testing raise concerns for some parents, civil-rights activists, and educators. State policymakers must make decisions carefully, determining educational value, and working to gain public support on test design and use. States bear the expense of developing and carrying out testing, and must decide whether or not to control for prior achievement, family, and community characteristics. Public reporting helps the public understanding, and builds and sustains support for accountability systems. Union opposition often complicates use of rewards and sanctions. Evidence of limited success does exist for reconstitution. States must decide whether, and how, to include special-needs students, students with disabilities, and English learners in assessment systems designed to promote continuous improvement. A comprehensive system incorporates professional development, high standards, and student assessment, and many states now recognize the expense and effort this requires. Some states use safeguards to prevent testing manipulation. States may increasingly guide development of accountability systems that use student performance to begin discussions, link performance with classroom practice, and focus on improving education for all students. (Contains 22 references.) (TEJ)
Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Academic Standards, Access to Information, Accountability, Achievement Gains, Achievement Tests, Disability Discrimination, Educational Assessment, Educational Testing, Elementary Secondary Education, Government School Relationship, Incentives, Parent Attitudes, Program Effectiveness, Sanctions, School Choice, School Effectiveness, School Publications, Student Evaluation, Test Results, Test Reviews, Testing
Southwest Educational Development Laboratory, 211 East Seventh Street, Austin, TX 78701. Tel: 512-476-6861; Web site: http://www.sedl.org.
Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Southwest Educational Development Lab., Austin, TX.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act