Accountability ESSA Complex Communication

What's in a Name? Sometimes, Quite a Bit

Considering the Effects of COVID-19 Disruptions on Identifying Schools for Supports Under ESSA

Following a two-year hiatus, states must restart their school accountability systems required under ESSA and identify schools for supports. In addition to well-documented technical concerns, states must also consider how they report accountability results, the labels they use to communicate quality to the public, and the words they use to describe performance. Do the names and labels so carefully crafted when the accountability system was developed pre-pandemic have the same meaning in spring 2022? I explore these ideas in this blog post. 

What’s in a Name? 

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Accountability ESSA Operational Best Practices

Supporting A Principled Approach to Restarting School Accountability in Spring 2022

Operational Best Practices for Accountability

Recently, my colleague Chris Domaleski reminded us of the complexity associated with restarting school accountability in Spring 2022.  It is unlikely that this problem will have a simple or straightforward solution. He presented four principles states should consider as they chart their own contextually appropriate courses moving forward: 

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Accountability ESSA ESSER

A Principled Approach to Accountability in 2022 

Four Principles to Guide State Decisions about ESSA Accountability Systems

A large part of the work my colleagues and I do at the Center is focused on helping our clients solve hard problems. This year I’ve encountered one of the thorniest problems I’ve seen in my career. Stated simply, what should states do about federally required school accountability in 2022? When deliberating about a new challenge, we sometimes quip, “if there was an easy answer, we probably wouldn’t be involved.” Although there are seldom easy or perfect solutions to hard problems, we always work to help states take a principled approach to finding the best solution for their situation. 

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Accountability ESSA Opportunity to Learn Personalized Learning Education Policy

Accountability Doesn’t Need to be Restarted. It Needs to be Revised!

Making the Case for a New Approach to Federal School Accountability

The U.S. Department of Education followed an all too familiar pattern of publishing important guidance just before the Christmas holiday, dropping a lump of coal in the stockings of state accountability directors. The gift, or Christmas miracle, that states needed was an acknowledgment that federal school accountability requirements need to be revised, not simply restarted. Unfortunately, the draft requirements simply discuss (direct) how states must restart their accountability systems in 2021-2022 after what has essentially been a 2-year accountability hiatus. 

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Accountability ESSA Opportunity to Learn Education Policy

Charting a Course for School Accountability in 2022

Navigating Federal Requirements

In the midst of the holiday season, the U.S. Department of Education (USED) released a draft FAQ addressing the requirements for school accountability in 2022 under ESSA. We won’t call this release a gift, but it at least provides some clarity for states deep in planning for 2021–22 accountability.

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Accountability COVID-19 School Disruption ESSA COVID-19 Response

Rebuilding School Accountability One Step at a Time

The Process of Restarting Accountability Systems Will be Incremental, Not Immediate 

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to subside in the United States, it may be reasonable to expect some education activities to resume with relatively little delay or difficulty. But the impact to other aspects of the education system is likely more extensive, requiring a period of rebuilding before complete resumption. Such is the case with rebuilding school accountability systems statewide.  

Why School Accountability Activities Will Resume Incrementally Rather Than Immediately  

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Innovative Assessment Educational Assessment ESSA Assessment

Implementing an Innovative State Assessment System While We’re Still Building It: 

Houston, I Think We Might Have a Problem

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and yet expecting different results. Recently, I have been thinking about how this adage applies to innovative state assessment systems—those systems states are developing that offer new ways of measuring student proficiency for use in state accountability systems. I have concluded that one of the reasons that successful innovation in state assessment systems has been so rare is that we continue to ask states to implement innovative assessment systems before the state or the system is ready.

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Accountability ESSA Student Equity School Quality ESEA Reauthorization

Letting Go of Labels in School Accountability Systems

How the next ESEA Reauthorization Can Improve Federal Accountability Requirements 

The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which is the current reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), contains federal accountability requirements wherein all states must create an accountability system for identifying schools for support on the basis of a collection of indicators, with the majority of weight given to statewide achievement tests scores. ESSA refers to this requirement as “Annual Meaningful Differentiation” and prescribes the aggregation of information across accountability indicators.

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Innovative Assessment Evaluation ESSA Assessment Accountability Performance Assessment

Keeping up the PACE

Evaluating Grade 8 Student Achievement Outcomes for New Hampshire’s Innovative Assessment System

This is the third in a series of posts by our 2020 summer interns and their mentors based on their project and the assessment and accountability issues they addressed this summer. Alexandra Stone, from the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, worked with Carla Evans on analyses to evaluate the effects on student achievement in the NH PACE program.

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ESSA State Assessment School Disruption COVID-19 Response Assessment Accountability

Dealing with Fallout from COVID-19 School Disruptions: What to do Next in Assessment and Accountability?

States Need to Deal with the Present, Plan for the Future

In late winter-early spring 2020, COVID-19 school disruptions became mainstream across the U.S. States and communities implemented policies for “social distancing,” resulting in students schooling from home, which interrupted state assessment schedules in every state. 

Canceling state assessments and local schooling have implications for several other state policies and programs, ranging from federal school accountability designations to determining how students could earn credits and graduate.

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