Saturday, May 21, 2016

ESSA Workgroups Meet: Accountability

This is the first of four posts regarding the ESSA workgroups meeting in Oregon to create Oregon's new system under ESSA. These are summaries released from each workgroup. Today we post the Accountability Workgroup's recap/next steps.   More on the other workgroups to come. 

Accountability Workgroup:
Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

The Accountability Workgroup has been charged with considering how to design an accountability and reporting system in order to support school improvement efforts and to effectively communicate school quality with Oregon parents and other stakeholders.

Work Group Progress
At our April 26
th meeting, the Accountability Workgroup focused on the overall accountability framework and on which indicators could be added to the accountability and reporting system.

  •   School Ratings versus Multiple Measures Dashboard
We discussed the strengths and weaknesses of a summative school rating as compared to a “dashboard” approach that shows data on a number of indicators, but does not combine them into an overall rating. After a lengthy discussion the group was leaning strongly toward implementing a dashboard accountability system. We believe this can fit within the bounds of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

  •   Qualities of an Accountability Indicator
We discussed the features that a data element should have, if it is to be included in an accountability system: is it meaningful, measurable, and/or actionable, and does it promote equity? In addition, we discussed the fact that including a measure in a high- stakes accountability system can change the nature of the measure itself. This led to a discussion of the importance of distinguishing between the data we include in reporting, and the data that we include in the accountability system.
  •   Indicators of School Quality/Student Success
We identified additional indicators for the accountability system (beyond those currently used) at the Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. Breakout group suggestions included:
o Attendance/Chronic Absenteeism
o College and career credits and certificates earned (IB, AP, CTE, etc.)
o Percentage of students “on-track” at middle and high school
o School climate measures (safety, participation in activities, caring/supportive
o Re-engagement rates for dropouts
o 6-year and 7-year cohort rates, and GED completion 
o Equity measures 

In addition, the groups identified several measures that could be reported, but not as part of the accountability system (i.e., the state’s method for differentiating schools)
o Access to a full curriculum
o Student surveys including socio-emotional indicators 
o Family engagement

Ongoing Discussions
At the April 26
th meeting, workgroup members who engaged in break-out discussions identified additional topics for discussion. These include:

  •   Designing a Dashboard
One breakout group began to discuss possible designs for dashboards. ODE staff will be mocking up several options to serve as prompts for further discussion. These will be discussed at the May 18 meeting.
  •  Additional Indicators
Workgroup members identified indicators to be considered in a dashboard. At the May 18th meeting the workgroup will:
o Review mockups of dashboards, based on workgroupsinput to date. 
o Review those metrics that are currently available and reported.
o Review those metrics that could be reported, based on available data. 
o Review those metrics that would need new data collections.
o Discuss those metrics that should be pursued as part of the accountability system, and those that should be considered for reporting purposes only.

  •   Participation
ESSA maintains the 95% participation rate requirement for every student group, and it also directs states to include this requirement in its annual differentiation of schools. The workgroup will discuss possible ways to include participation in the system of differentiating schools.
  •   Alternative Schools
We believe that ESSA requires a single system of indicators to differentiate all schools in the state. However, we know that alternative schools are designed to serve students with unique circumstances or challenges, and we need to design an accountability system that can appropriately evaluate these schools. This could include:
o Different weighting for the indicators.
o Additional measures to better reflect successes in these schools. 
o Potential “bonuses” for successes with at-risk students.

By the end of the June 28
th meeting, the Accountability Workgroup will put forward considerations regarding:

  • The use and design of a multiple measures dashboard
  • School quality/student success indicators
  • Methods for identifying low performing schools for supports and interventions
  • Identifying modifications of an accountability system to fairly include alternative schools in the identification of low performing schools
  • Determining the role that participation will play in the accountability system