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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 underserved 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

September 16, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Juliet Squire, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess
Districts across the country play a crucial role in ensuring schools effectively serve students and families. Beyond federal requirements in the...
September 15, 2020
Lynne Graziano, Chad Aldeman
As more schools prepare students for a high school diploma and college and career readiness, how are states tracking the effectiveness of these...
September 8, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, National Association of Charter School Authorizers
Great charter school authorizers believe in the charter school promise and relentlessly pursue excellence to give every child an educational option...
September 2, 2020
Ashley LiBetti, Juliet Squire, Justin Trinidad, Amy Chen Kulesa, Rebecca Gifford Goldberg
One of the greatest promises of the charter school movement has been the potential to create diverse school models to meet the varied needs of...
August 27, 2020
Kelly Robson, Juliet Squire, Indira Dammu
Over the last 25 years, the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) has invested nearly $5.3 billion into the charter school sector, directing funds...

Op-Eds

October 20, 2020
Bellwether’s Chad Aldeman compared the number of hours of live instruction planned this year for 5th-, 8th- and 11th-graders in 10 large districts...
August 11, 2020
Information about how schools support students is more critical now than ever as we navigate a pandemic that has already upended two school years....
August 11, 2020
If New York does receive a waiver, its schools will lose another year of data that represents the only available measure of performance for every...