The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act stipulates that all public school students must meet or exceed the state's proficient level of academic achievement by the end of the 2013–14 school year. The law also requires that each state develop a monitoring and accountability system to measure that targets are being reached. The adequate yearly progress (AYP) criteria are critical to this system. AYP defines, uniquely within each state, a sequence of performance benchmarks for the state, its districts, and its schools. While NCLB's AYP-based accountability system addresses school performance, it does not provide the guidance needed for schools to make the progress being asked of them.
Just as schools need reliable data and systems to measure progress against AYP goals, they need guidance and viable solutions to improve their teaching practices to ensure they meet those goals. The Center for Education Decision Support Systems at Learning Point Associates recently published a report, Finding Additional Value in New Accountability Systems, that addresses some basic issues surrounding accountability systems and introduces several innovative concepts to help structure thought about how new accountability systems can generate additional utility. The authors maintain that it is possible to augment current state accountability systems so they provide answers to the important questions that will determine the success or failure of schools. A subsequent paper will detail a schematic for the design and implementation of appropriate solutions given the knowledge, technology, and capacity already available.
Learning Point Associates also offers a variety of data tools and resources to help states and districts address the opportunities and challenges presented by NCLB.
Data Exploration: A Journey to Better Teaching and Learning
Educating for Democracy: School and Classroom Practices
enGauge®: A Framework for Effective Technology Use
Leadership Audit Tool
Quality School Portfolio (QSP)
Scoring Guide for Student Products
Self-Assessment Tool for School Leaders
State Education Data Systems That Increase Learning and Improve Accountability
Surveys of Enacted Curriculum (SEC)
Technology Challenges During Teachers' Induction Years