Educational accountability and state ESSA plans

John Portz, Nicholas Beauchamp
2022, Vol. 36(3) 717 –747
May 1, 2022


This paper examines different state approaches to educational accountability in response to the Every Student Succeeds Act. Cluster analysis reveals three groups of states with similar indicator weights and rating systems, and principal component analysis identifies two dimensions underlying these clusters. We find that state-level demographics are correlated with the types of assessment policies adopted by states: policy liberalism is associated with putting greater weight on school quality and student success, while economic variables are associated with traditional performance measures, such as graduation rates and testing. These clusters reveal different approaches to measuring accountability and prioritizing different kinds of information, which can in turn influence the nature of education politics.

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