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Accountability results should be reported so that the improvements needed are clear to students, teachers, and parents.
Accountability mechanisms should encourage schools to improve all students' performance.
Assistance should be aimed at strengthening schools' capacity for educating all students to high standards and to building the internal accountability within schools.
Questions to Ask
Are teachers and administrators held accountable for the progress of their students, and are districts and the state held accountable for the professional development and support they provide teachers and schools to enable students to reach high standards?
Are multiple indicators used in determining accountability, including indicators of instructional quality, as well as student outcomes?
Are accountability results reported so that the improvements needed are clear to students, teachers, and parents?
Does the accountability mechanism encourage schools to improve all students' performance?
Does your accountability system provide assistance to build capacity and internal accountability in schools?
Link to Instructional Improvement. The accountability system should be tied directly to the instructional improvement system, so that all schools can learn from the example of the successful schools and poor-performing schools can receive the support they need to improve.
Assistance Before Sanctions. Penalties such as reconstitution and takeovers are not solutions; they are means to implement solutions. State and district efforts should emphasize assistance first, and sanctions only after a period of continual decline in performance and evidence that additional help would be fruitless.
Assistance to All, with Priority for Lowest-Performing Schools.
The poorest-performing schools would benefit most from assistance and should receive it first, but all schools need some form of help in developing teacher capacity and internal accountability.