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Key Accountability Lessons Detailed in ASCD White Paper

ASCD, a global community dedicated to excellence in learning, teaching, and leading, has released a new white paper on multimetric accountability that details the ways in which more comprehensive education systems can be developed to support student success. The report highlights five examples at the state, province, and local levels in the United States and Canada that have successfully put in place accountability models that use multiple measures to determine if they are best serving students. Included in the systems discussed in the white paper is the New Hampshire Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) Pilot.

This past spring, the U.S. Department of Education provided New Hampshire with an NCLB waiver that allows four of the state’s districts to pilot a first-of-its-kind locally managed performance assessment system for state and federal accountability purposes. The NH PACE pilot permits districts to give the Smarter Balanced statewide assessment once during each grade span (elementary, middle, and secondary) instead of requiring it annually in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school. For the remaining grades, districts administer locally developed performance assessments in English language arts, math, and science. These local assessments also evaluate students’ work study practices, such as communication skills, creativity, ability to collaborate, and self-direction. More information about PACE can be found at

“If you make assessment and accountability part of meaningful work,” says Deputy Commissioner Paul Leather, “it will change educators’ perspective, and they will see those components as essential and not just another thing to do.”

“Any accountability model must begin with a clear vision of student success and select the appropriate measures to support that vision,” said David Griffith, ASCD director of public policy. “Multimetric accountability promotes comprehensive student achievement and well-being by using multiple measures of performance, incorporating a range of subjects, including nonacademic factors, and promoting continuous improvement and support. For the systems highlighted in this paper, next-generation accountability has already arrived, and they have demonstrated that it is both achievable and successful. These are proven models for others to emulate.”

The five featured examples demonstrate that there are many different ways to build a high-quality multimetric accountability system. They also show that, regardless of the exact mix of measures included, effective multimetric systems have five key lessons in common:

  • Start with the child, not the measure—The foundation of any accountability model should be the students themselves and what’s needed to prepare them for success.
  • Commit to continuous improvement—Communities must make sure the measures they are using align with local priorities, values, and goals, and they must continuously rely on the measures to inform their decision-making processes.
  • Communication is key—The need for communication and public engagement applies at all stages of accountability, from development of the system to its implementation and refinement.
  • Compromise is inevitable—Tough choices have to be made about what measures to include based on availability, capacity, and cost considerations.
  • There’s no finish line—Building and implementing these systems is an ongoing process of analysis, refinement, and continuous improvement.

You can read the full report at

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