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Toward A Next-Generation School Accountability System

When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) became law in 2015, it granted states unprecedented authority to innovate and create new accountability systems. In this brief we outline our vision for what a next-generation state accountability system could look like. We created our design as part of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute ESSA Accountability Design Competition, in a competition lasting just under three weeks. We presented our design along with nine other finalists on February 2, 2016. Below you can read our full design as well as our presentation.

When creating this design, our focus was to protect the state’s role in monitoring school quality, to foster more educator and community engagement, and to avoid taking a short-sighted view based on today’s backlash-driven malaise. It builds upon the belief that the academic achievement and growth of every child is most important—especially so for children of color and those from low income communities—and that non-test academic indicators should round out the picture of student and school success. It describes our system’s core components for accountability; summative scoring and categories; individual indicators and measures; and waiver application process.

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