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States’ accountability changes may impact school designations, improvement timelines

Education Dive |

Assessments and accountability plans, put on pause by the U.S. Education Department for the 2019-20 school year due to COVID-19, are expected to resume this school year with addenda. 

Considering usual indicators like absenteeism, graduation and assessment data have drastically changed in recent months, states — some of which were already in the amendment process prior to the pandemic — are rethinking data collection, interpretation and implications for the 2020-21 year. Added to those variables are conditions of assessment, instruction and content delivery that have varied significantly from past years and make score comparability, which states use to determine growth and school designations, a long shot.

As a result, state officials say they are having to consider changes big and small as the February 2021 addenda deadline from the U.S. Department of Education looms. They describe scrambling to provide as much information to schools as possible while reimagining a system without much-needed information, like 2020-21 assessment data. Even so, the reimagining could be the first domino in a series of changes to school designations, growth timelines and trajectories.