Accountability and School Performance

Accountability: an obligation of responsibility

Accountability in Education: the idea of holding schools, districts, educators, and students responsible for results. Accountability in education should include; 1) a clearly defined set of standards, 2) valid and reliable tests that measure how well the standards are met, and 3) an effective plan to improve schools that fall short.

Accountability in Education for Students of Color: Schools, districts, educators, and caregivers must develop accountability systems that ensure that ALL students make progress. Attention and resources should be made available to all student subgroups. ALL schools should be held equally accountable; not only the lowest performing.

ESSA Addresses Accountability and School Performance:

  • ESSA requires states to set goals for increasing the percentage of students who meet state standards in reading and math and graduate from high school.
    • Goals must be established for each subgroup. Student subgroups/categories under ESSA have been expanded to include homeless students, foster youth, and military youth.
  • Progress for each student group must be reported separately.
    • Reporting must show improvement for all groups of students and faster improvement for groups that are behind. It is the intention that differentiated goals will decrease the achievement gap.
    • School ratings must reflect the progress of underperforming student subgroups. Schools cannot depend on overall “good averages”; while neglecting or failing to facilitate academic achievement for their most vulnerable students.
  • ESSA specifies three categories of schools that need support; 1) Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools, 2) Targeted Support and Improvement Schools, and 3) Additional Targeted Support and Improvement Schools.
    • Comprehensive Support and Improvement Schools are defined as the lowest performing 5 percent of Title I schools and high schools with graduation rates below 67 percent. For these schools, districts must develop improvement strategies which can include a review of district and school level budgeting. If these schools fail to meet improvement criteria the state must intervene.
    • Targeted Support and Improvement Schools are defined as schools where one or more student subgroups consistently underperform. Schools must develop improvement strategies that must be approved by the school district. Additional undefined action must be taken if subgroups continue to underperform within a district-designated time frame.
    • Additional Targeted Support and Improvement Schools are defined as schools where one or more subgroup of students whose performance would place them in the bottom 5 percent of Title I schools. Schools are required to develop improvement strategies that must be approved by the school district. These improvement plans must address resource inequities. If subgroups continue to underperform within a district-designated time frame, the school becomes categorized as a Comprehensive Support and Improvement School.