50-State Comparison: States' School Accountability Systems

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Education Commission of the States
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07-05-2018 3:53 PM
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School accountability systems can serve many purposes, including sharing information, measuring progress toward state and local goals and supporting greater educational equity. Given the important role accountability systems play in states' education systems, many states are taking the opportunity provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act to improve upon their existing systems. ESSA offers states more authority over their accountability systems than they had under previous federal law. As a result, many states are transitioning from a system focused on assessments and graduation rates to one that incorporates a wider variety of measures of school quality. While each state must weigh the pros and cons of codifying its accountability system, many states' current policies do not currently align with their ESSA plans. This resource captures an important transition period in state accountability systems by providing a national overview of these systems as described in current state statute and regulation (as of December 2017), where available, and in states' ESSA plans (as of May 31, 2018). State statute and regulation often outline or provide a foundation for accountability systems. In some cases, states may operate multiple systems to ensure school quality, not all of which are described in statute and regulation. To help fill in the blanks that are not described in state policies, other resources (where publicly available) have been provided. Each state's accountability system is unique, so some nuances may not be represented in this 50-State Comparison. For questions, additional details or further analysis, please contact Julie Woods at jwoods@ecs.org. Click on the questions below for 50-State Comparisons showing how all states approach school accountability in current policy or in their ESSA plans. Or choose to view a specific state's approach by going to the individual state profiles page.
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