First Details of Proposed School Accountability System Revealed

Courtney Williams's picture
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wisconsin could more aggressively intervene in the lowest-performing publicly funded schools under a proposed accountability system unveiled Monday.

The system would rate schools on a scale of 0 to 100 based on student performance and growth on state tests, closing achievement gaps and preparing students for college and careers. Ratings also would be tied to dropout rates and third-grade literacy levels.

The Department of Public Instruction released a draft application to the U.S. Education Department for a waiver from the 10-year-old federal No Child Left Behind Act, which State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers said "has shackled schools by being overly prescriptive and prohibiting creative reforms."

"Wisconsin's request for flexibility from NCLB is driven by the belief that increasing rigor across the standards, assessment and accountability system will result in improved instruction and improved student outcomes," Evers said.

The waiver application provides the first details of an accountability system that Evers and Gov. Scott Walker have been developing for the past six months. Some details, such as how test scores translate to ratings, still have to be designed by a DPI technical committee.

Under the proposal, which would require legislative approval, Wisconsin would for the first time have a system to reward the best and reform the worst public schools — including charter schools and private schools that enroll publicly funded voucher students.

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