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ERIC Number: ED570120
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Oct
Pages: 44
Abstractor: ERIC
Creating Measurement and Accountability Systems for 21st Century Schools: A Guide for State Policymakers
Osborne, David
Progressive Policy Institute
Since Congress has passed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) states are revamping their federally required systems to measure school quality and hold schools accountable for performance. However, most are doing so using outdated assumptions, holdovers from the Industrial Era, when cookie-cutter public schools followed orders from central headquarters and students were assigned to the closest school. Today education is migrating toward systems of diverse, fairly autonomous schools of choice, some of them operated by independent organizations. Before revising their measurement and accountability systems, states need to rethink their assumptions. For instance, most states have assumed that they should apply one standardized, statewide accountability system to almost all public schools. Most have also assumed that measurement and accountability systems are roughly the same thing, so the only aspects of performance they need to measure are those in their federally-required accountability systems. Under the old No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, most of those measures were standardized test scores, and what counted was the percentage of students scoring "proficient" or better. When schools repeatedly failed to meet such standards, most states assumed the proper response was some minor form of restructuring required by NCLB--perhaps a new principal, perhaps some new teachers, perhaps some new money. 21st century schools must be held accountable to 21st century standards. For too long, they have defined and measured school quality in a way that encourages cookie-cutter schools, all focused on preparing students for tests. Instead, they need diverse schools that cultivate the joy of learning, engage their students in deep learning, and help them develop the "character skills"--such as conscientiousness and self-control--that lead to success in life. To achieve this will require a series of fundamental changes that are presented in this report.
Progressive Policy Institute. 600 Pennsylvania Avenue SE Suite 400, Washington, DC 20003. Tel: 202-547-0001; Fax: 202-544-5014; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - General
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: Policymakers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Progressive Policy Institute
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001