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ERIC Number: ED567858
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-May
Pages: 96
Abstractor: ERIC
Making the Grade: A 50-State Analysis of School Accountability Systems.
Martin, Carmel; Sargrad, Scott; Batel, Samantha
Center for American Progress
One of the most enduring and contentious debates in education circles concerns the best way to hold schools and districts accountable for improving outcomes for students and closing achievement gaps. Lawmakers, teachers, district administrators, parents, and other stakeholders--all with strong and differing opinions--have wrestled for decades with questions about the appropriate role of the federal government compared with that of states and school districts in the operation of schools and the measurement of their success. The Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, signed into law in December 2015, was in many ways the culmination of the accountability movement. Under ESSA, states must hold schools accountable for student performance in English language arts, or ELA, and mathematics; a second academic indicator, such as growth in ELA and mathematics; progress in achieving English language proficiency; high school graduation rates, if applicable; and at least one measure of school quality or student success. In addition, states are required to disaggregate these indicators, excluding English language proficiency, by individual subgroups of students, including those from low-income families, those from major racial and ethnic groups, those with disabilities, and English language learners. ESSA's new requirements build on the history of school accountability, which began at the state level in the 1990s amid a broader effort to measure school performance. The No Child Left Behind Act, or NCLB--the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA--increased the federal role in accountability. ESSA, the most recent reauthorization of ESEA, gives states greater flexibility in designing more holistic accountability systems that take into account multiple indicators of school success, while continuing to hold schools accountable for academic achievement. This report analyzes the measures that states currently include in their accountability systems and examines how state systems compare with the new law's provisions, which will take effect in the 2017-18 school year. To this end, the Center for American Progress analyzed ESEA flexibility waivers and accountability workbooks, supplementing the data from those sources with information and materials from state departments of education. The authors find that statewide accountability measures fall into one of seven main categories of indicators: achievement indicators, such as proficiency in reading and mathematics; student growth indicators in multiple academic subjects; English language acquisition indicators; early warning indicators, such as chronic absenteeism; persistence indicators, such as graduation rates; college- and career-ready indicators, such as participation in and performance on college entry exams; and other indicators, such as access to the arts. The following are appended: (1) Methodology; (2) Indicator analysis; (3) Weighting analysis; and (4) Sources. (This report is part of a series on implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress
Identifiers - Location: United States
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Elementary and Secondary Education Act; No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A