Sections    Tuesday March 20th, 2018
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State Board Of Education adopts principles to guide new A-F school accountability system

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  • Sally Stewart/ Arizona Department of Education

Yesterday the State Board of Education adopted principles of agreement that will guide the development of the next generation of A through F school accountability profiles. The Board also expressed its interest in establishing a safe harbor year for all accountability measures.

The Board’s A through F School Accountability Committee recommended the guiding principles after significant public input. The committee was chaired by Board Member Jaime Molera, and included Board Vice President Greg Miller and Board Member Amy Hamilton.

“The committee did not confine itself to a system as-is; we looked at the system in its totality in order to allow for the creation of the best school accountability system for Arizona,” said Mr. Molera. “We want a meaningful system that will provide apples to apples comparisons of our schools, with diagnostic information to educators, parents, and policy makers that will allow successes to be replicated and deficiencies to be addressed.”

“These principles are an excellent framework to begin the task of restructuring our school accountability system,” said Board President Thomas Tyree. “As the details of the new system are developed, we need to ensure that our schools have an opportunity to be successful as we make significant policy changes.”

Anticipating the selection of a new statewide assessment at a special Board meeting on November 3, President Tyree asked that the December Board meeting include an item identifying next steps to establish a safe harbor year for accountability measures. This action would effectively allow a hold harmless period while baseline data is collected on the new assessment and related policy changes are being discussed. The Board, together with ADE, will actively inform the community of all opportunities to comment on proposed policies.

Chairman Molera assembled a group of community leaders to act as advisors to the A-F School Accountability Committee, which included:

Dr. Sybil Francis, Executive Director, Center for the Future of Arizona Dr. Roger Freeman, Superintendent, Littleton Elementary School District Becky Hill, Manager, Hill Advocacy
Lisa Graham Keegan, Executive Director, A for Arizona
Eileen Klein, President, Arizona Board of Regents
Dr. Ildiko Laczko-Kerr, Vice President of Academics, Arizona Charter School Association Paul Luna, President and CEO, Helios Foundation
Janice Palmer, Arizona School Board’s Association

The principles of agreement are included below.

State Board of Education’s A-F School Accountability Committee

Philosophical Agreements:

  • A through F achievement profile will examine solely academically relevant information.
  • Multiple measures of performance provide more information about a school’s quality than a single test score.
  • The achievement profile must recognize academic growth as an essential element of measurement: Schools must not be penalized for low scores if significant gains are made over the course of the academic year. However, at least one year’s of growth must remain the expectation to ensure student’s stay on pace to graduate prepared.
  • “A” schools must be truly excellent in their preparation of students for college and work as measured throughout the P-20 and career readiness system.
  • All schools must have the opportunity to achieve “A” status.
  • The system must meaningfully balance simplicity with transparency.
  • Arizona’s A-F achievement profile should align with and reinforce the State Board of Education’s policy goals for academic achievement.


Technical Agreements:

The A-F achievement profile shall provide timely, valid, and reliable information.

  • The state shall produce information for schools that identifies the students included in each measure.
  • School should receive data and accompanying technical documents so the schools may replicate and validate the findings.
  • The achievement profile should reflect both growth of students not at grade level, as well as students at or above grade level.
  • The achievement profile will reflect students’ mastery of standard.
  • The achievement profile will utilize multiple years of data as available and appropriate.
  • The achievement profile will utilize postsecondary success measures.

 Implementation Agreements:

In order to ensure that each new measure captures the intent, the state should pilot portions of the achievement profile.

  • The state should verify the achievement profile to comply with technical requirements and/or statutes and State Board of Education rule.
  • The state will present the achievement profile and other agreed to measures of school quality to parents, educators, and policy makers in a timely, informative, and easy to understand format. This includes releasing formula or other updates to how the annual profiles are determined prior to the start of the school year the profile will reflect.
  • A coalition of technical and policy stakeholders must be consulted to create, evaluate and refine the methodologies used in the achievement profile to ensure transparency, feedback from the field and community, and compliance with Agreements.



Board Members:

President Thomas Tyree      

Vice President Greg Miller

Reginald Ballantyne III                        

Amy Hamilton        

Dr. Ann Hart            

Roger Jacks

Jaime Molera  

Jacob Moore

Cheryl Rogers              

Dr. James Rottweiler

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal

Executive Director: Christine M. Thompson