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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

October 19, 2016
U.S. News & World Report -- New federal guidelines aim to hold teacher prep programs accountable.
October 19, 2016
Ashley LiBetti Mitchel, Melissa Steel King
Every year, new teachers collectively spend about $4.8 billion on their training requirements, nearly all of which goes to teacher preparation...
October 11, 2016
Jennifer Schiess, Carolyn Chuong
Around the country, a growing number of schools and districts are leveraging personalized learning — an instructional model centered around student...
September 29, 2016
Chad Aldeman
The way we evaluate American schools is outdated. We too often identify “low-performing” schools by where students end up at the end of the year,...
September 9, 2016
PDK Poll -- What should we do about low-performing schools? When the Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools asked Americans their...

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...