canada africa partner reservation Federal accountability measures are failing students in Arizona

Federal accountability measures are failing students in Arizona

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Accountability in America’s Public Schools: Arizona

WHAT IS RESPONSIBILITY IN K-12 EDUCATION?

The U.S. Department of Education mandates accountability models to ensure states meet the requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a federal law that exists to hold schools accountable for student performance.

Despite federally mandated accountability measures to “promote academic improvement,” student academic performance has reached its lowest level in thirty years.

HOW DOES ARIZONA MEASURE SUCCESS?

State and local educational authorities in Arizona track student progress as measured by approved and valid data submitted to the Arizona Department of Education for the Comprehensive School Performance Report in the following areas:

Accountability measures

Included in accountability

ACADEMIC

Achievement status (math)

X
Achievement Status (Reading/English Language Arts) X
Performance growth X
Performance gap
English language skills/progress
4 year graduation rate X
Learn early
Well-rounded education

X

Arizona’s dashboard does not take into account the achievement gap, English proficiency/progress, and early learning. Arizona’s plan calls for a 5% improvement in reading and math, but neglects other core subjects such as social studies, science and writing.

  • Arizona’s plan specifies that indicators should be weighted on a 100-point scale, but does not describe how the final grades will be assigned. While Arizona claims it will support the bottom 5% of all schools, there are no details on how many schools might fall into that category.
    • Arizona’s plan lacks details on how it will include subgroups in its accountability system, how it will identify schools in need of improvement, and what criteria low-performing schools must meet to qualify as needing improvement. There are also no plans to address how Arizona will use federal funds to help improve student outcomes.

THE NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS (NAEP), THE LARGEST NATIONAL ASSESSMENT, IS THE GOLD STANDARD FOR REPORTING OUR NATION’S EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS. WHAT DO THE LATEST NAEP ASSESSMENTS SHOW ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ARIZONA’S ESSA PLAN?

  • According to the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) in Arizona in 2022:
  • The reading level of 4th graders performing at or above the NAEP Proficient was only 30%.
  • Black fourth-graders had an average reading score that was 24 points lower than that of white students.
  • Fourth-grade Hispanic students had an average reading score that was 24 points lower than that of white students.
  • Low-income fourth-grade students had an average reading score that was 30 points lower than that of students from middle- and high-income families.

RESTORING EDUCATION EXCELLENCE IN ARIZONA: TWO ESSENTIAL ACTIONS ARE NEEDED: INCREASED TRANSPARENCY AND INCREASED ACCOUNTABILITY.

  • Congress and states should reexamine their enforcement of federal accountability mandates for monitoring student achievement, providing critical data to assess harm and guide effective interventions.
  • Government assessment systems need to modernize, and tests need to reflect current curricula and provide timely, actionable data on student progress and academic performance to teachers and parents.
  • Accountability measures should be designed and implemented at the state level. A one-size-fits-all federal accountability model is counterproductive.
  • To promote accountability and increase transparency, Arizona must:
    • Increase parental involvement by enforcing federal laws that guarantee parents the right to observe classroom activities and have access to research materials about their children (20 USC § 6318; 20 USC § 1232h).
    • Train elected school board members to review curriculum and ensure students have access to evidence-based curricula that positively impacts student outcomes over time.
    • Install video cameras in classrooms to track student progress, monitor curriculum implementation, and increase safety.
    • Eliminate teacher tenure in primary and secondary education, which currently does not require evidence or performance measures, leading to lower teacher performance.