Modules 3A–3E: Indicators

Evaluating State Accountability Systems Under ESEA

This webpage is part of the Evaluating State Accountability Systems Under ESEA tool, which is designed to help state educational agency (SEA) staff reflect on how the state’s accountability system achieves its intended purposes and build confidence in the state’s accountability system design decisions and implementation activities. Please visit the tool landing page to learn more about this tool and how to navigate these modules.

Under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESEA), a state’s accountability system must include a minimum number and type of indicators, which are the data and information used to measure school performance based on state priorities. The ESEA requires that a state establish five indicators. A school’s performance is rated based on four of these indicators, depending on whether the school is an elementary or middle school or a high school. One of the indicators applies only to schools that are not high schools, and another applies only to high schools. These modules focus on the specific indicators that make up the state’s system of annual meaningful differentiation (AMD):

  1. Academic achievement indicator, as measured by proficiency on the annual statewide reading or language arts and mathematics assessments and at the state’s discretion, for each public high school in the state, student growth, as measured by such annual assessments.
  2. Other academic indicator for elementary and middle schools that are not high schools that is either a measure of student growth or another valid and reliable statewide measure that allows for meaningful differentiation in school performance.
  3. Graduation rate indicator, as measured by the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate (ACGR) for high schools and, at a state’s discretion, may include one or more extended-year ACGRs.
  4. Progress in achieving English-language proficiency (ELP) indicator, as defined by the state and measured by the state’s statewide ELP assessment.
  5. At least one school quality or student success (SQSS) indicator that meaningfully differentiates between schools and is valid, reliable, comparable, and statewide.

In Module 2B: Indicator Interaction in the State’s System of AMD, you responded to a set of three self-reflection prompts to help describe why decisions were made and how indicators interact within the state’s system of AMD. For each of the following modules (Modules 3A–3E), you are invited to take a closer examination of individual indicators by category. You will be asked to specify the following for each indicator in an abbreviated manner (see Table 1 below):

Table 1. Overview of Modules 3A-3E: Indicators

Section What is it? Why is it important?
Section 1. Articulate the Rationale Behind the Indicator The opportunity to clearly and concisely describe why the indicator is designed the way it is To develop a message that can be used for multiple audiences to describe the “what,” “why,” and “how” behind a given indicator
Section 2. Consider Stakeholder Perceptions of the Indicator Rationale A reflection on whether stakeholders understand the rationale behind the indicator, helping to identify possible areas that may be misinterpreted or misunderstood by the public Determining what assumptions or design decisions might require more explanation can help minimize the public’s misunderstanding and help prioritize resources to support communication efforts.
Section 3. Assess Confidence in Operations and Results of the Indicator Based on your state’s rationale and potential risk, the opportunity to examine your state’s level of confidence that design decisions are sound and evidence supports your state’s assumptions for a specific indicator Determining your state’s confidence in the results and presentation of a specific indicator can help you build confidence across the indicators and help clarify where additional evidence, revisions, or outreach materials can be useful.

Please select from the following modules to better understand how the various measures within indicators are contributing to the validity of the state’s accountability system:

[Module 3A: Academic Achievement Indicator]

[Module 3B: Other Academic Indicator]

[<a href="" Module 3C: Graduation Rate Indicator]

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<a href="" [Module 3D: Progress in Achieving English Language Proficiency Indicator]

[Module 3E: School Quality or Student Success Indicator]

[Click here to go back to the tool home page.]

Modules 3A–3E: Indicators