Resources

CPRE : Consortium for Policy Research in Education

Evaluation of Title I Accountability Systems and School Improvement Efforts

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires states and districts to report and act on student test results in a host of new ways. Among the many actions states and districts must take under NCLB's accountability system are steps to increase the achievement of all students, identifying and helping schools that need to improve, and offering more choices to parents.
To understand how states, districts, and schools are implementing these accountability provisions, the Evaluation of Title I Accountability Systems and School Improvement Efforts was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education, beginning in 2001-2002 and continuing for three years. During these three years, the study gathered data from educators in schools, district offices, and state education agencies through a nationally representative survey of 1,300 school districts and 750 schools in Title I Program Improvement, and interviews and parent focus groups in a subset of 15 school districts and 20 schools. These activities were designed to capture how the key accountability provisions of the Improving America's Schools Act (2001-2002) and NCLB (2002-2003 and 2003-2004) are being carried out, how aligned they are with state and district accountability systems, what assistance and incentives are provided to Title I schools to help them improve and what steps schools are taking to improve.

Specifically, the study reports on:

  • Title I schools identified as in need of improvement, including how many there were, their characteristics, the process by which they were identified and how states and districts communicated with and about them.
  • Support and interventions for Title I schools identified as in need of improvement, including the types of support provided, efforts to offer school choice to students in identified schools and the corrective actions taken by districts in schools that did not make progress.

Findings from the first year of the study (2001-2002) suggested that states, districts, and schools were well-positioned to meet the requirements of NCLB, but would need to make substantial changes to fully comply with the new law. Findings from the second year (2002-2003) show that states and districts are taking steps to implement new accountability systems, but a big gap remains between their current systems of accountability and the vision embodied in NCLB of coherent systems that support all schools and all students to reach high standards.