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ERIC Number: EJ898072
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2002
Pages: 75
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1096-2719
School Accountability in California: An Early Evaluation
Betts, Julian R.; Danenberg, Anne
Brookings Papers on Education Policy, p123-197 2002
Over the last decade, virtually every state has launched a school accountability program in response to public concern over failing schools. Proponents of school accountability argue that standards can energize school systems, by putting pressure on schools to help all students. After almost a decade of accountability reforms, content standards and testing remain very popular in opinion polls. At the same time, detractors of the standards movement point to a number of failings of typical accountability programs. In this paper, the authors discuss the challenges facing California schools and the school accountability system in California. They describe the California reforms as consisting of content standards, an assessment system, and a menu of responses by the state. In the context of these reforms, the authors assess overall trends in student achievement, in school resources, and in the distribution of student achievement and resources. They assess trends and differentials in achievement in mathematics and reading on the Stanford 9, by grade level, from 1997-98 to 1999-2000. They found two important trends in the data. Test scores in California have risen significantly, especially for schools that originally had the lowest test scores. At the same time, teacher resources have declined, especially at low-scoring schools. The authors conclude by reiterating what may be their most important finding, that inequality in teacher preparation as measured by teacher credentials, education, and experience has risen between the bottom- and top-performing schools in California. Comments by Robert Rothman and Robert M. Hauser are presented. (Contains 8 figures, 16 tables and 44 notes.)
Brookings Institution Press. 1775 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-536-3600; Fax: 202-536-3623; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Stanford Achievement Tests