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Abstract

The upcoming reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act provides an opportunity to reconsider what factors school performance-reporting systems should include. Critics of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) have pointed to the narrowing effects of the law's focus on mathematics and reading achievement, and they have called for efforts to broaden the measures used to rate schools. This report poses and addresses questions regarding expanded measures of school quality to reflect the multiple goals of schooling. The authors convened a panel of five experts on school accountability policies, scanned published research about expanded measures of school performance, conducted ten semistructured phone interviews with staff from local or state education agencies and research institutions, and reviewed the measures employed in each state that publishes its own school ratings in addition to those required under NCLB. After classifying the measures state education agencies use to develop their own school ratings, they then describe categories of measures that research indicates are the most rapidly growing in usage by state and local education agencies. They supplement categories of measures with more detailed examples of localities that have adopted them, examining why they adopted the measures and how the measures are employed. This report describes promising directions for expanding the set of measures that schools have at their disposal while acknowledging the need for more research on how the availability of such measures affects educational practice and student achievement.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    The Rationale for Expanding the Set of School Performance Measures

  • Chapter Three

    Which Additional Measures Are Currently in Use?

  • Chapter Four

    What Guidance Does Research Offer for Expanding Measures of School Performance?

  • Chapter Five

    Recommendations for a Federal Role to Promote Improved Measurement of School Performance

Research conducted by

The research in this report was prepared for the Sandler Foundation and conducted by RAND Education.

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