Accountability, Standards, and Testing
States are developing education data systems that can match teachers to students, and track students’ test scores from year to year. These systems may lay the groundwork for evaluating teachers based on the academic progress of their students, using standardized tests to gauge student progress, teachers’ unions have noted with concern. Such “value-added” evaluation models are intuitively appealing because they attempt to get at a central question: How much are teachers contributing to their students’ progress? But controversy surrounds the use of the data for decisions involving such issues as tenure or merit pay. In a “Point/Counterpoint” discussion in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Douglas N. Harris of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Heather C. Hill of the Harvard Graduate School of Education debate the merits of value-added teacher evaluation models. As a guest editor for the Point/Counterpoint feature, the Rockefeller Institute’s Allison Armour-Garb provides background on the issue. The complete article is available through the Journal, with a fee for non-subscribers.
Allison Armour-Garb, Fall 2009
With the No Child Left Behind Act up for renewal, it’s time for big thinking on intergovernmental collaboration in the ways we measure and report results in our schools.
Allison Armour-Garb, June 2008
Six years into the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, many state agencies lack adequate access to, or budgets to pay for, the expertise they need to implement and monitor sound accountability systems. Policymakers, educators and testing companies face incentives to cut corners, lower standards, and game the system, and the public lacks a clear idea of the effectiveness of the various components of the education system because curriculum standards and measures of performance vary widely from state to state. These are “structural” features of the educational accountability sector that probably require changes in institutions and incentives.
Allison Armour-Garb, April 2008
Education Week executive editor Lynn Olson summarizes the Rockefeller Institute’s October 29, 2007 symposium entitled “Intergovernmental Approaches to Strengthen K-12 Accountability Systems.” She explains that variability in state proficiency standards under the federal No Child Left Behind Act has led to renewed call for common national standards and measures of proficiency, but there is little appetite for having the federal government develop national standards and tests. She summarizes the alternatives that were considered by the symposium participants, such as state led-collaboratives, a national accreditation agency, and possible federal models.
Lynn Olson, March 2008.
This volume contains an edited transcript of the Rockefeller Institute’s October 29, 2007 symposium, a list of participants, and a framework paper circulated to participants in advance.
Leading Speakers: Michael McPherson, Michael Cohen, Chester E. Finn, Jr., Lynn Olson, Robert Linn, Thomas Toch, John Merrow. Edited by Allison Armour-Garb, March 2008.
Intergovernmental Approaches to Strengthening K-12 Accountability Systems
Council of Chief State School Officers National Conference on Student Assessment
Moderator: Allison Armour-Garb, Rockefeller Institute
Panelists: Lauress Wise, Human Resources Research Organization; Laura Slover, Achieve; Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
June 16, 2008
A Public Policy Forum with James A. Kadamus, Deputy Commissioner for Elementary, Middle, Secondary and Continuing Education, New York State Education Department. October 24, 2005