Rethinking State Education Accountability from Birth through HS


Reposted from the Ounce of Prevention Fund:

In the last decade-plus, statewide accountability systems have emerged as a strategy for improving child outcomes, particularly for low-income and minority children. It is clear that state accountability systems have changed the behavior of schools. But to date, accountability efforts in both early learning and the K–12 public school system have not set the right goals for educators. Moreover, both early learning and K–12 have struggled to generate the capacity needed to improve education at scale, and the strategies currently being used for improvement have frequently not had the intended effect.

For an accountability system to truly succeed, it must both set the right goals and provide the right supports for achieving those goals. States can build on the best ideas in both early childhood and K–12 accountability systems to create a single state education accountability system from birth through high school – one that sets the right goals and identifies the supports needed to help achieve them.

Stated broadly, the right goals for an accountability system are widely agreed upon: Accountability systems are supposed to measure the professional practice of schools, and then help schools improve their practices as a means of achieving better student outcomes. To date no consensus has emerged about how to measure practice, how to help schools improve, or what student outcomes should be measured. But while there is not yet clear national agreement on how accountability systems should work, existing efforts to improve accountability systems in early learning and K–12 are creating promising trends.

Read the Executive Summary here.

Read the full Policy Conversation here.

Learn more about the Ounce of Prevention Fund here:


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