So far, watching state ESSA plans roll in has been a bit like rooting for the Washington Redskins (or, if you prefer, the Washington Football Team). Every fall starts with fresh hopes. Yet every spring fans are asking the same questions: What went wrong? Why can’t management learn from its mistakes? Why does it always have to be this way?
Meanwhile, Broncos fans have enjoyed John Elway, Peyton Manning, and the second most Super Bowl appearances in NFL history.
Obviously, building high-performing education system is harder than building a winning football team. But as in football (or any sport, really) it helps to focus on the fundamentals in education policy because you won’t get far without them.
So with that in mind, here are four ways that Colorado’s plan for rating schools, like its annoyingly successful football team, gets the fundamentals right:
1. Colorado uses a mean scale score as its measure of achievement.
Instead of using proficiency rates to gauge achievement, Colorado will take an average of students’ test scores, which sounds simple (like blocking and tackling) because it is simple—assuming you do it.
As Morgan Polikoff and other accountability scholars have argued, “a narrow focus on proficiency...