NEPC Review: School Accountability--Past, Present, and Future (Hoover Institution, November 2020)
A report from the Hoover Institution argues that state and federal officials should retain results-oriented accountability systems that use standardized assessments of students followed by consequences for not meeting performance goals. The report is problematic for a number of reasons. It ignores a plethora of literature on the deleterious impact of test-based accountability on outcomes that could provide a more nuanced understanding of these systems. It fails to explain why these systems should be extended to include more testing at more grades. It also provides no evidence on the efficacy of its preferred reform strategies for low-performing schools, which include combining external interventions with market-driven consequences. Rather than evidence, the report relies on unsupported theories of accountability and market-driven reform to provide a rationale for its conclusions and recommendations. For these reasons, policymakers, educators, and state education administrators should not rely on this report for guidance as they consider strategies for assisting low-performing schools and districts.