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Holding the education accountability system accountable: An evaluation of Louisiana's K-12 test-based accountability system (Part I)

Douglas Harris, Director, Education Research Alliance for New Orleans

Date & Time
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
12:00–1:00 pm
Tulane Medical School Building
1555 Poydras, 7th Floor
New Orleans LA 70112 Map and directions

While much of the atten­tion of New Orleans’ school reforms has been on parental choice, char­ter schools, and teach­ers, the test-based account­abil­i­ty sys­tem is in many ways refor­m’s back­bone. Teach­ers can be dis­missed and reward­ed based on stu­dent test scores — specif­i­cal­ly, their val­ue-added” to stu­dent achieve­ment. Char­ter school appli­ca­tions are accept­ed and renewed based sub­stan­tial­ly on stu­dent test scores, as reflect­ed in the School Per­for­mance Scores (SPS). Par­ents also choose schools based on the SPS. But how well designed is Louisiana’s test-based account­abil­i­ty sys­tem to mea­sure per­for­mance and improve teach­ing and learn­ing? What are the sys­tem’s strengths and weak­ness­es? In this first of a two-part series on the sub­ject, Doug Harris, direc­tor of Edu­ca­tion Research Alliance (ERA) will present basic prin­ci­ples of an effec­tive test-based account­abil­i­ty sys­tem and eval­u­ate Louisiana’s poli­cies for teach­ers, schools, and dis­tricts. The June brown bag will focus on spe­cif­ic rec­om­mend­ed changes in the sys­tem. This pre­sen­ta­tion will draw on more than a decade of Doug’s work. He is author of the book, Val­ue-Added Mea­sures in Edu­ca­tion (Har­vard Edu­ca­tion Press, 2011) and numer­ous aca­d­e­m­ic jour­nal arti­cles, includ­ing one in the nation’s pre­em­i­nent jour­nal, Sci­ence. In addi­tion to being wide­ly cit­ed in the nation­al media on the top­ic, he has advised sev­en state depart­ments of edu­ca­tion and the U.S. Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion on the sub­ject. He is also cur­rent­ly advis­ing Louisiana’s Board of Ele­men­tary and Sec­ondary Edu­ca­tion (BESE) with reports due this sum­mer and fall. These brown bags will pro­vide a pre­view of those reports and seek input on their content.

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