Next-Generation Accountability Systems: An Overview of Current State Policies and Practices

This report describes next-generation accountability concepts that states have either designed or implemented. Many concepts are derived through ESEA flexibility waivers that exempted states from many of the accountability requirements of the 2001 No Child Left Behind Act, the current iteration of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The authors categorize the systems into five key sections: measuring progress toward college and career readiness; diagnosing and responding to challenges via school-based quality improvement; state systems of support and intervention; resource accountability; and professional accountability. The systems are described in the report, but not evaluated. According to the authors, "it is essential to note that the trends and state examples that follow are provided to illustrate patterns of reform across the 50 states, but that the individual state reforms we have highlighted may or may not have resulted in successful improvement of student outcomes." Barriers to implementation are also described.

Content Comments 

This resource provides a good overview of many innovative accountability methods that states proposed as part of waivers to the No Child Left Behind Act. Information was mostly drawn from state waiver proposals; consequently, it is unclear to what extent the information was verified other than the authors' own knowledge of the field. Communications quality is good: the resource uses easy-to-understand language and an effective design. Users are most likely to be state agencies interested in what other states are doing. However, because the systems are not evaluated in the report, but mostly described from plans, utility is likely to be limited. Evidence of effectiveness is not addressed, and several key issues should have deeper coverage, including short- and long-term costs, long-term sustainability, and comparability of very disparate systems. Nevertheless, this is a useful resource for accountability policymakers.