Creating a College and Career Readiness Accountability Model for High Schools. Issue BriefReport as inadecuate

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The federal government announced in late 2011 that as an alternative to waiting for Congress to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the U.S. Secretary of Education would consider requests from states to waive certain requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). The opportunity to request waivers carries with it a requirement that states develop new systems of accountability that support educators, improve academic achievement, and close achievement gaps. The federal waiver process presents a unique opportunity for states to create accountability systems that focus on preparing students for college and careers. After careful consideration of current state and district accountability models for high schools and conversations with a number of state education leaders about accountability, this issue brief recommends that states consider the following principles when designing a college career readiness accountability system for high schools: (1) Use multiple measures to determine school and district performance in the areas of assessment, graduation, college and career readiness, and school environment; (2) Provide incentives for preparing the hardest-to-serve students for college and career, including comparing the performance of schools and districts with similar student populations; and (3) Set realistic targets for accountability measures that are grounded in research and realistic given past school or district performance. Proposed State High School Accountability Measures are appended. (Contains 24 notes.)

Descriptors: High Schools, Federal Legislation, Incentives, Educational Change, Federal Government, Educational Environment, Accountability, College Preparation, Job Skills, Models, High School Students, Educational Legislation, Educational Improvement, Academic Achievement, Educational Quality, School Districts, Evaluation Methods, Graduation Rate, At Risk Students

NGA Center for Best Practices. 444 North Capitol Street Suite 267, Washington, DC 20001. Tel: 202-624-5300; Fax: 202-624-5313; Web site:

Author: NGA Center for Best Practices


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