Polikoff’s Letter Encourages Regulators to Look Beyond the State-defined Proficiency Threshold
August 17, 2016
University of Southern California Associate Professor of Education Morgan Polikoff wrote a blog post which details his letter to the U.S. Dept. of Education regarding ESSA regulations, and encourages regulators to look beyond “the state-defined proficiency threshold” when formalizing its regulations. He notes that the threshold “encouraged schools to focus their energies on students just below this proficiency cut score” since raising scores for students above that line “would not help the schools’ accountability ratings.” It is also a “very poor measure” of achievement gaps.” Polikoff wants schools to measure student performance based on the “[t]he simple average of students’ scores on the assessment.” He also encourages regulators to ensure that any incentives offered to educators stress “good practices” rather than “educationally unsound” ones because of the stakes involved.