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ERIC Number: ED558164
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Feb
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
School Accountability in the Digital Age. Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning. Policy Brief
Watson, John; Pape, Larry
Evergreen Education Group
Public schools in the United States operate under state accountability systems that vary by state and are meant to measure individual school performance against criteria determined by state policymakers. The purpose of these systems is to hold each school accountable for increasing student performance. However, it has become clear that a single system does not accurately measure all schools. Among the problems is that these systems do not adequately assess schools with high rates of student mobility or a high number of students who enter as over-age or under-credited. Although online schools most commonly face these issues, these concerns also have ramifications for blended schools (those combining digital and face-to-face instruction) and many traditional physical schools as well. The ways in which fully online schools are held accountable vary based on how they are overseen, and by state. Online schools fall into one of several categories, and accountability structures differ based on the categories. This report recommends the following policy changes to help address some of the current accountability system issues: (1) Credit schools with graduating students in five or six years; (2) Measure students' progress towards graduation, especially for situations in which students switch schools; (3) Change funding mechanisms to systems that minimize the impact of high student mobility; (4) Publish data on student mobility for all schools, and consider creating a designation specific to schools with high rates of student mobility, regardless of other student demographic factors; (5) Require separate reporting on online programs so that online student outcomes can be tracked; (6) Calibrate performance penalties for schools that miss targets for the percentage of students who take state assessments; (7) When students change schools, require that the sending school transfer complete student information to the receiving school quickly; and (8) End counting by cohorts, and determine where students go after leaving an online school. An appendix provides supplemental tables. [A list of sponsors of "Keeping Pace with K-12 Digital Learning 2014" can be found on page 2 of the attached document.]
Evergreen Education Group. 700 Main Avenue Suite E, Durango, CO 81301. Tel: 970-375-3276; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Evergreen Education Group
Identifiers - Location: United States