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Knowledge From the Field

Expanded Measures of School Performance

Published: April 2011

Publisher(s): RAND Corporation

Funder(s): Sandler Family Supporting Foundation

View Report (64 pages; 355KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Educational Standards


The report considers expanding measures of school performance beyond those required by No Child Left Behind, identifying additional measures used by states, trade-offs in adopting new measures, and how the federal government can support such efforts.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=In addition to the No Child Left Behind standards, the most common categories included in state accountability ratings are: 1) student performance in additional tested subjects (most often history or social studies); 2) growth in student test scores over time; 3) relative growth in performance compared with “peer” students or schools (weighing factors such as academic performance, free-lunch status, student demographics); and 4) college-readiness.

=Outside the context of formal accountability systems, there is also a trend to measure the establishment of a safe and supportive school environment, identification of at-risk students, and improvement of student outcomes through more frequent assessments or advanced coursework.

=The selection of measures should be informed by the purposes of the measurement system – monitoring, diagnosis, or accountability.

=Recommendations for a federal role include: 1) incorporating a broader range of measures as a basis for accountability than is currently mandated under No Child Left Behind; 2) avoiding creation of an immediate new federal mandate to adopt specific measures; and 3) incorporating additional school performance measures within existing competitively awarded federal grants.

 Focus: National

Subjects/Keywords: Accountability; College-Readiness; Elementary and Secondary Education; No Child Left Behind; School Performance; School Reform

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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