Caution Needed On School Quality Measures

Caution Needed On School Quality Measures

February 6, 2019

Constance Lindsay writes for Education Week that measuring school quality is complicated, and reflects a community’s values and politics. When “hard metrics” are absent, “parents and other stakeholders are left to make assumptions often informed by all kinds of biases.” The “tools often used to assess schools are lacking and reinforce powerful stereotypes,” often resulting in and negatively impacting “schools that are high poverty or serve a majority of students of color.” Even with the requirement that districts and schools “produce report cards created for the purpose of rating school quality,” under ESSA, “the factors that determine ‘quality’ are still contested.” When “systems use test scores-based measures of accountability, the concern is that ratings may reflect the realities of demographic differences among children, rather than actual differences in school effectiveness.” While ESSA has the potential to provide more accurate information, it also “misses a lot of nuance,” Lindsay reports.