Explores a range of accountability measures used in alternative education programs and schools, and provides considerations for states working to establish measures under the Every Student Succeeds Act that better meet the diverse needs of students, including those in alternative settings.

“[P]rovides an overview of the accountability measures used by states and districts to assess the college and career readiness of students who are educated in alternative programs and schools (defined hereafter as alternative settings). Alternative settings are designed to serve at-risk students by providing pathways to educational success for students whose needs are not met in traditional school environments. Accountability measures currently used in alternative settings acknowledge the differing needs of students served and offer flexibility for measuring readiness as students progress through alternative settings.

Given that states now have the opportunity to design new accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), they will have the flexibility to consider the needs of, and to develop accountability measures for, students in alternative settings. Whether states develop new accountability systems for alternative settings or revise existing measures, they can use this opportunity to ensure that all students receive a high quality education that adequately prepares them for life beyond high school.

This brief describes various accountability measures used in alternative settings and offers considerations for states as they move forward in designing new accountability systems under ESSA” (p.1).

Full publication title: What Can States Learn About College and Career Readiness Accountability Measures from Alternative Education?

(Abstractor: Author)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Currently, some states have separate or parallel accountability systems for alternative settings. Other states have integrated accountability measures that account for the needs of at-risk students within their traditional statewide accountability systems that serve all students” (p.2). “Accountability Measures Used in Alternative Education Settings States and districts use a variety of measures to assess how well these settings meet the needs of their students. The measures, highlighted in the following sections, span three major categories: • Readiness to receive education. These measures reveal whether alternative settings are creating the necessary conditions for student learning. They include measures of attendance and behavior. • Demonstration of learning. These measures provide information about whether students are making academic progress and include indicators of credit accumulation and academic growth. • Readiness for college and career. These measures give insight into whether students in alternative education settings have gained the knowledge and skills necessary for post-high school success. Such indicators include measures of completion, credentials, and certifications” (p.2). “Regardless of a state’s approach to ensuring accountability for alternative education settings, there is value in measuring schools based on student data in three core areas: readiness to receive education, demonstration of success in education, and postsecondary readiness. Adopting flexible measures that serve at-risk students across these categories can incentivize alternative and traditional education settings to meet the needs of all students. The examples and considerations discussed in this brief can provide options for states as they modify their systems of accountability within the next year” (p.7). “Below are considerations for states that aim to incorporate measures inclusive of alternative settings into their accountability systems in order to better serve all students. 1. Assess college and career readiness using a variety of measures throughout students’ academic trajectories” (p.6). 2. “Identify measures that reflect the overall growth of the student and not just academic proficiency” (p.6). 3. “Leverage ESSA to support at-risk students” (p.6). (Abstractor: Author)