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Accountability Improves Schools

January 20, 2012 by Kerri L. Briggs

“I don’t think you can solve a problem if you can’t diagnose it, and I don’t think it is fair for parents or students not to be informed of how their schools perform relative to other schools and how their children perform relative to other children. So I’m pleased with the progress and concerned about efforts from people in both political parties to weaken it.” (President George W. Bush, January 12, 2012)

Before No Child Left Behind (NCLB), few states were assessing students annually, and few were disaggregating the assessment data they did have.  NCLB’s requirements for annual testing, and for disaggregation of results across subgroups, changed these norms.  As a result, we now have more educational data than ever.  We know where serious, systemic problems exist.  We have shown a spotlight on the pervasive achievement gap.  Armed with these important tools and insights, we are now prepared to develop reform strategies that more directly target the needs of schools and their students.  And we are ready to move from a “status”, or point-in-time evaluation of performance, to the measurement of student growth.  These crucial next steps in educational accountability must be supported.  The attached brief explains the work Eric Smith, Fellow at the Bush Institute, Sandy Kress, Fellow at the Bush Institute, and Kerri Briggs, Director of Education Reform, will be pursuing to ensure accountability remains a force in the efforts to improve schools and ensure all students achieve.

This post written by Kerri Briggs, Director of Education Reform at the George W. Bush Institute.