Accountability Reform:  District & School Accountability and Educator Effectiveness

For the past decade, the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law has forced one-size-fits-all mandates that are not improving our schools nor districts. Without change, nearly every public school in Wisconsin could soon be deemed "in need of improvement" and forced to implement ineffective sanctions. As leaders at the federal level debate how to reform this broken law, education and political leaders from across the state want to advance reforms that work for Wisconsin now.

Instead of focusing on a static bar of proficiency, Wisconsin is developing a new accountability system focused on graduating all Wisconsin children ready for career and college. The new accountability system will include multiple measures of student and school performance including both growth and attainment. Schools will be held accountable for outcomes in four priority areas:  student attainment (proficiency), student growth, closing achievement gaps, and on track to graduation or post-secondary readiness. Every publicly funded school—traditional public schools, charter schools, and choice schools—will be part of this new accountability system. DPI will begin developing interactive accountability reports, secure and public versions, to reside in WISEdash. The new accountability system is scheduled to be in effect in 2014-15.

Educator effectiveness is a major part of federal education reform as presented in the Blueprint for ESEA reauthorization. In order to develop a system that is built by and for Wisconsin educators and leads to improved student learning, State Superintendent Tony Evers convened the Educator Effectiveness Design Team. This group was tasked with developing recommendations for a Wisconsin teacher and principal evaluation system. Their recommendations are being used to develop a comprehensive implementation plan that includes training and piloting in 2012-13 and 2013-14 and the Educator Effectiveness system fully operational statewide in the 2014-15 school year.

A number of states are currently working to develop robust and fair evaluation systems for their educators and a national effort led by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) was launched to guide states. Wisconsin is a member of this group, the State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness, and will continue to bring information, research, and resources from the Consortium into the implementation of our state’s Educator Effectiveness system.