Evolving Coherent Systems of Accountability for Next Generation Learning: A Decision Framework


Council of Chief State School Officers, Jan 2015. A guide for state policymakers for developing an accountability system that supports next gen learning.

Over the past several years, states have advanced critical reforms strategies to ensure that every student has access to an education that prepares them for college and career success. Now, several states, including those in CCSSO's Innovation Lab Network, are supporting local practitioners to rethink how to redesign classroom environments to deliver better outcomes for all students. As schools and districts across the country increasingly develop models of student-centered "next-generation" learning, states are considering how they can take action to encourage and scale these important shifts in teaching and learning.

To support the shift toward student-centered, personalized learning models, state departments of education play an important role in both signaling the learning outcomes toward which these models should strive, and ensuring that state systems of assessment and accountability enable, rather than discourage, these new models. States should consider several key questions, including:

  • What are the state's expectations for student learning?
  • How will those expectations be assessed at different levels of the system, and how do these methods of assessment align with next generation learning models?
  • How will various measures of student learning inform accountability and reporting?
  • How will information be used to identify, intervene, and support schools and districts as part of a coherent and reciprocal system of accountability?


This resource guides state policymakers through a series of central design questions and provides sample options - including key considerations, potential trade-offs, and state examples - to help inform the state's decision-making. While not exhaustive, this document provides state leaders with a starting point for considering how to evolve their current assessment and accountability systems. It is intended to spark collaboration and discussion among state leaders, their staff, and local leaders as they consider innovative solutions that improve student outcomes.

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