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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

May 22, 2019
Kelly Robson, Jennifer O’Neal Schiess, Justin Trinidad
Any movement serious about improving outcomes for underserved young people must include the South. It is the fastest-growing region in the country...
October 23, 2018
Lynne Graziano, Jason Weeby, Tanya Paperny, Sara Mead
How do you build a continuously improving system of schools? Eight Cities is a new website from Bellwether Education Partners that provides stories...
July 18, 2018
Ashley LiBetti, Justin Trinidad
Teaching is one of very few professions that expects new employees to be masters of their craft — where they handle all of the responsibilities of...
May 15, 2018
Hailly T.N. Korman , Alexander Brand
For an updated version of this analysis, including data from both 2013-14 and 2015-16, see "Patterns and Trends in Educational Opportunity for...
December 12, 2017
Chad Aldeman, Anne Hyslop, Max Marchitello, Jennifer O'Neal Schiess, Kaitlin Pennington
The 2015 passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) ushered in a new era for state education accountability systems. With less prescriptive...