Seizing a Rare Opportunity: Design Considerations for Accountability

On Tuesday, February 2, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute hosted the ESSA Accountability Design Competition, a first-of-its-kind conference to generate ideas for state accountability frameworks under the newly enacted Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). Representatives of ten teams, each from a variety of backgrounds, took the stage to present their outlines before a panel of experts and a live audience. Richard Wenning, SpreadMusicNow’s Co-Founder and Board Member, was one of those chosen to present his vision for state accountability under ESSA. In his submission, ...

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On Poverty, Proficiency and Velocity

First, let me be clear: poverty matters. It impacts children’s starting point in terms of early learning. This is why proficiency is correlated with poverty. Proficiency is a performance standard, it is a destination, a mile marker of attainment in the context of a content standard. It is one of several important indicators of “performance” and it is a lagging indicator. It does not imply academic effectiveness. Policy makers and pundits do a disservice to the public when they conflate “performance” and proficiency. If an accountability system weights proficiency ...

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