News and Speeches

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein Announces Launch Of Accountability Initiative 

04/11/2006

Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein announced today that as part of a comprehensive accountability initiative each school in New York City will receive a Progress Report with an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade beginning in the 2007-08 school year, as well as a Quality Score of + (well developed), P (proficient), and Ø (undeveloped) based on an individual onsite Quality Review.  This continuation of the Children First school reforms will help educators harness information to drive high-quality teaching and learning, and it will give parents the information they need to evaluate schools and assess their children’s progress.

 

“We hold our children accountable every day. Starting now, we are holding our schools and ourselves more accountable as well, using sophisticated measures,” Chancellor Klein said. “Our accountability initiative, including the Progress Report, will help the Department of Education and all New Yorkers identify which schools are succeeding and which schools are failing our students.

 

“We can’t afford to make excuses for the status quo; we must constantly strive to improve.  The accountability we are infusing into our schools is a crucial step in that direction.”

 

A pilot Quality Review program is currently underway in dozens of schools.  As many as 100 schools will participate in the pilot this spring.  Quality Reviews will continue during the 2006-07 school year, and by next spring all schools will have participated in a review.  The Progress Reports will be piloted during the 2006-07 school year in the City’s 200 autonomy zone schools.  These schools will receive letter grades starting in spring 2007.  Beginning in the 2007-2008 school year, all New York City public schools will receive letter grades.  Progress Reports will be available online and made available to parents.

 

Quantitative Measures

Schools will be evaluated on three separate quantitative measures, “Progress,” “Performance,” and “School Environment,” which will be combined into an overall letter  grade of A, B, C, D, or F.

 

  • Progress - Tracks average academic growth of individual students over time.  This is a “value-added” measure that evaluates progress made by each student from year to year (a student’s performance in the fourth grade compared to the same student’s performance in the third grade, for example).
  • Performance - Reports average student achievement on annual State exams (Math and ELA for elementary and middle school students and Regents for high school students).
  • School Environment - Includes attendance rates and school safety figures, as well as community engagement and satisfaction (based on forthcoming parent, teacher, and student surveys).

 

Qualitative Measures

This spring, the DOE is performing pilot Quality Reviews in conjunction with Cambridge Education, a firm with decades of experience performing school reviews in the United States and more than 50 other countries worldwide.  Cambridge will begin training DOE staff this spring so that eventually this can become a peer-review process.  Donors to the Fund for Public Schools, including Jim Allwin, Raymond G. Chambers, Jim Kelly, and Anthony Scaramucci, have committed $500,000 in philanthropic support for this program.

 

Reviewers will assess:

  • How effectively schools use the information at their disposal to monitor student performance and progress.
  • How effectively schools set individualized teaching and learning goals.
  • How effectively schools create environments conducive to teaching and learning and adjust teaching to meet student needs.
  • Principals’ leadership skills.
  • Parent involvement.

 

Schools that receive chronically low grades and Quality Scores will face serious consequences, including targeted improvement efforts, changes in leadership (consistent with contractual obligations), and restructuring or closure.  High-scoring schools will be rewarded.

 

As schools are held increasingly accountable for quality and progress, the DOE will provide them with a wide variety of Periodic Progress Measures, assessments that teachers and principals will be asked to use to evaluate whether students are learning specific skills during the course of the year.  These measures will help educators recognize strengths and weaknesses and make timely mid-course corrections.  All teachers—kindergarten through 12th grade—will be able to use these Periodic Progress Measures.

 

Results from these in-class assessments and results from annual State standardized exams will feed into an advanced data management system, which is under development.  The data management system will enable educators and parents to access and interpret information about student achievement and spot trends—even as students advance from grade to grade or move from school to school.

 

Children First began three years ago with a focus on stabilizing and building capacity in the school system.  The next step in this effort is empowering school leaders—giving them more control over curriculum, budgeting, and personnel decisions—while holding them accountable for their students’ results.  The accountability initiative is a continuation of the Children First reforms and builds on the Department’s commitment to school leadership, empowerment, and accountability.  The Chancellor has set up a special e-mail address for New Yorkers with questions or comments about this program: ChildrenFirst@schools.nyc.gov.

 

###

 

Contact:  David Cantor / Kelly Devers (212) 374-5141