Policy Advocacy for Letting Schools Be Schools

Publication Year:
2017
Usage 42
Downloads 26
Abstract Views 16
Repository URL:
https://digitalcommons.nl.edu/diss/253
Author(s):
Major, Jason
Tags:
school ratings; testing; accountability; Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
thesis / dissertation description
Ever since the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools have been in an era of high stakes accountability around test scores, attendance, and climate and culture. This has also ushered in a wave of accountability down to teachers in the form of paperwork, mandates, and a heavy emphasis on reading and math. In Chicago Public Schools, all schools in the district are rated on the School Quality Rating Policy, which utilizes the Northwest Evaluation Association’s Measures of Academic Progress assessment to determine student growth from the spring of one year to the spring of the next. This heavy focus on reading and math has caused schools to abandon or limit the focus on other subjects like science, social science, and the arts, as well as rely on technology based skills programs to boost knowledge on items that schools know will be on these yearly growth assessments. Campbell’s Law says that the more a social indicator is used for accountability, the more apt it is for mischief, and there are multiple examples that show that this is the case. Could it be that no accountability, or intrinsic accountability at the grassroots within a school, trusting teachers and administrators to consider the context of their own building to do what is best to move their school and students forward, is a better policy? This paper looks at many examples of schools and districts that have had to give some things up in order to hit metrics given by accountability measures, as well as examples of national scandals that occurred because of the amount of pressure put down on schools due to high stakes testing and accountability, and sees a better way through school based intrinsic motivation.