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Standards and Accountability

By Elizabeth Cryan Photography with permission from Donnell-Kay Foundation at Rocky Mountain Prep school

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Student- and school-based accountability systems can set a baseline for what students should know, but they are also an equity tool, creating the same expectations for all students regardless of where they were born or what school they attended. When states create statewide academic standards, collect information about whether students are meeting those standards, and use that information to improve outcomes, they can get better results for high-need students. In order to function well, standards must be high, the information must be meaningful to parents and educators, and accountability systems must be carefully designed to create the right incentives for schools and educators.

Bellwether seeks to make the theory of action behind standards and accountability a reality. Through grant-supported reports and blog posts as well as client advising, Bellwether demonstrates how these policies play out in states and schools. We have analyzed how to improve accountability systems, advised advocacy organizations pushing for higher standards in their states, and helped testing organizations understand the larger policy environment in which they operate.

The content below reflects our work on this issue:

Publications

April 26, 2017
The 74 Million -- What if we told you there were other test consortia, flying under the radar of Common Core backlash, with as many or more states...
January 23, 2017
Bonnie O'Keefe, Kaitlin Pennington, Sara Mead
President Donald Trump’s nomination of philanthropist and education advocate Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education thrust Michigan education into...
December 1, 2016
U.S. News & World Report -- For underserved students, more high-quality schools, not vouchers, will expand school choice access.
November 30, 2016
The 74 Million -- In the education sector, there's a tension between the need for good information to better serve kids right now and the reality...
October 19, 2016
U.S. News & World Report -- New federal guidelines aim to hold teacher prep programs accountable.

Blog Posts

March 3, 2017
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
Last week, the American Enterprise Institute hosted an event discussing the failings of civics education in America. The panelists referred...
October 31, 2016
Phillip Burgoyne-Allen
On Thursday, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) released the results of its 2015 science assessment for America’s 4th,...
May 19, 2016
Chad Aldeman
How should public policies address inequities across schools and districts? American Federation of Teacher President Randi Weingarten says...