Resolution in Support of Student-Centered Accountability Systems

Summary

The Resolution on Student-Centered Accountability Systems encourages states to use their flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act to enact student-centered accountability systems, rather than assessments that rely on aggregated and average data. Student-centered accountability systems are defined as systems following these general principles:
  • Timely Provision of Student-Level Data
  • Measure Student-Specific Progress and Restore the Focus of “High-Stakes” Testing to be on Advancing Individual Student Instruction and Growth
  • Develop Important Individualized Measures Beyond Sole Reliance on “High-Stakes” Tests, Including Engagement, Teacher Input and Assessments, and Satisfaction
  • Account for Mobility in Graduation Calculations and any other Aggregate Data Indicators
  • Recognize and Respect Parental Intent
  • Do Not Devalue Parental Choice by Treating Schools of Choice Differently
  • Support and Protect Students Succeeding in Schools of

Resolution in Support of Student-Centered Accountability Systems

WHEREAS, The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) significantly restored the primacy of state policy- making in the area of public school accountability; and

WHEREAS, the American Legislative Exchange Council supports federalism and the importance of the States leading in important areas of educational policy, such as the design and implementation of public school accountability systems, and

WHEREAS, the fundamental purpose of any public school accountability system should be to achieve the best possible education for every individual student; and

WHEREAS, many school accountability systems, through their sole reliance upon aggregated and average data, too often are designed to meet the perceived needs of systems and institutions as opposed to maximizing success at the individual student level; and

WHEREAS, while aggregated and average data may serve some purposes in informing parents and policy-makers of general trends, such data is not superior to, and should not be utilized to circumvent, the individualized assessment of a parent on the unique educational situation and needs of their child; and

WHEREAS, any public school accountability system that relies solely upon aggregated and average data will harm some students by not recognizing struggling students in an aggregated high-testing setting, or threatening the ongoing public education of a well-performing student in a lower aggregated testing environment; and

WHEREAS, the use of aggregated and average four-year cohort graduation data in public school accountability systems can be misleading in any setting with higher student mobility at the high school level; and

WHEREAS, the extensive utilization by public school accountability systems high-stakes standardized testing has proven to have significant accuracy issues and inappropriately move the primary focus of testing to be the post hoc measurement of systems and institutions as opposed to a focus upon assisting and guiding individual student instruction on a forward-looking basis; and

WHEREAS, a result of the priority in high-stakes testing regimes is primarily serving institutional needs as opposed to being an educational tool for each individual student, parents are increasingly rejecting the legitimacy of the high-stakes testing regimes and the misuse of aggregate test data; and

WHEREAS, the American Legislative Exchange Council supports policies that respect and enhance parental decision-making and promotes and protects the availability of multiple school options, recognizing different students need different educational approaches; and

WHEREAS, the American Legislative Exchange Council supports strong educational accountability and systems that ensure that the extremely large amounts of taxpayer funds invested in public education are linked to individual students actually succeeding, and

WHEREAS, the American Legislative Exchange Council believes that public school accountability systems are able to be designed by state policy-makers on a state-by-state basis that accomplish these goals without undermining parental choice, the availability of options, or harming some students through over reliance on aggregate and average data, and

WHEREAS, this resolution advances and embraces fundamental principles held by the American Legislative Exchange Council, including federalism, the importance of individual decision-making and limited government as opposed to centralized bureaucratic dictates and larger, more powerful centralized governmental bodies, and the value of market forces in an environment of options to improve all offerings, and

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Legislative Exchange Council recommends that states, utilizing their properly restored authority under the ESSA, consider the creation and implementation of STUDENT CENTERED ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS designed around the following general principles:

  • Timely Provision of Student-Level Data
  • Measure Student-Specific Progress and Restore the Focus of “High-Stakes” Testing to be on Advancing Individual Student Instruction and Growth
  • Develop Important Individualized Measures Beyond Sole Reliance on “High-Stakes” Tests, Including Engagement, Teacher Input and Assessments, and Satisfaction
  • Account for Mobility in Graduation Calculations and any other Aggregate Data Indicators
  • Recognize and Respect Parental Intent
  • Support and Protect Students Succeeding in Schools of Choice