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Academic Accountabilities

As part of the DOE's comprehensive accountability initiative, all New York City schools will receive a graded Progress Report and a Quality Score. This continuation of the Children First school reforms will help educators harness information to drive high-quality teaching and learning and give parents the information they need to evaluate schools and assess their children's progress. Empowerment Schools will be at the forefront of the accountability initiative, as outlined below.

Progress Reports

All New York City schools will receive a Progress Report with an A, B, C, D, or F letter grade beginning in Summer 2007. The Progress Report is designed to measure each school's contribution to student academic progress, no matter where each child begins his or her journey to proficiency and beyond. The Report does not focus on the capacities students bring with them on the first day, but rather on the capacities students develop as a result of attending the school.

There are three broad categories of academic outcomes for which schools will be held accountable:

  • Student Performance: percent of elementary and middle school students at proficiency levels 3 or 4 (grades 3-8); percent of entering high school students receiving each type of diploma after four and six years (HS).

  • Student Progress: Average gains in ELA and math proficiency (grades 3-8) and in credit accumulation and Regents tests passed (HS) as students move from one grade to the next at the school. The progress measures are sensitive enough to capture and award credit for student progress within as well as across proficiency levels, e.g., credit will be awarded for progress from low Level 2 to high Level 2, as well as from high Level 2 to low Level 3. This category will receive the most weight.

  • School Environment: Attendance, safety, and student/parent/teacher engagement and satisfaction as measured by surveys.

As to each of these categories, schools will be graded based on:

  • The school's outcome in the current year.

  • A comparison of the school's current outcome to its performance during the prior three-year period.

  • A comparison of the school's performance in the current year to that of "peer schools," i.e., schools with similar populations (based on free lunch, demographics, ELL, Special Ed, and mobility). This criterion will receive the most weight.

  • Whether the school met improvement targets set for that year in the preceding year's Progress Report. The overall grade will be based on a comparison of a school's overall performance on all of these criteria to the performance of all schools in the City in the recent past. To get an A, a school will have to perform as well as the top 15% of the City's public schools in 2002-2005; to get a B, a school will have to perform as well as the next 40%; to get a C, the next 30%; a D, the next 10%, and an F, the bottom 5%. By pegging grades to historic system-wide performance, we ensure that a grade of A truly denotes excellence. There is no limit to the number of schools that can achieve an A in each criterion.

Empowerment Schools will receive Progress Reports in Summer 2006. These Reports will have information about the school's academic outcomes during the 2005-2006 school year and performance targets for the 2006- 2007 school year but will not have an overall grade. Each school's performance targets will be based on improvement levels that recent NYC experience show to be within reach of schools with similar populations. Empowerment Schools will receive their first graded Progress Reports in Summer 2007, which will also contain performance targets for the following (2007-2008) school year. (Please note that all NYC schools will receive graded Progress Reports in Summer 2007 with performance targets for the 2007-2008 school year.)

Quality Review All New York Schools will receive a Quality Score of + (well developed), (proficient), or (undeveloped), . . based on an individual onsite Quality Review. The Quality Review has been developed to assist schools in raising student achievement. It is designed to measure a school's progress in using available information and ongoing evaluation of the effectiveness of instruction to improve the learning of all children and groups of children. The process also provides:

  • A structured opportunity for review and constructive feedback;

  • Support and encouragement for the school's ongoing self-evaluation; and

  • A springboard for school improvement planning.

Schools will be evaluated according to their own stated goals and the DOE's Quality Review rubric, which captures schools' success in:

  • Gathering Data on All Students' Outcomes and Capacities

  • Planning and Setting Goals for Individual Students, Classrooms, and the School

  • Aligning Instruction

  • Building and Aligning Capacity

  • Monitoring and Revising Plans and Goals

Schools will be scored as either Well-Developed, Proficient, or Underdeveloped.

Principals and faculty may be assured that the reviewers coming into their schools are independent, free from personal bias and have significant school leadership experience that equips them for effective school review and evaluation. All reviewers will sign, and are committed to, a Code of Conduct that will guide their work and assure consistency.

Approximately 100 DOE schools received Quality Reviews in April-June 2006 as part of a pilot program. All New York City schools will receive a Quality Review during the 2006-07 school year. Most of these Reviews will follow the three-day format used in the Spring 2006 pilot. Most Empowerment Schools will follow a more extensive (approximately 5-day) review process to be piloted during the 2006-07 school year. Progress Report Consequences and Impact of Quality Review

The consequences that flow from schools' Progress Report grades and Quality Review scores are described in detail in Attachment D. In summary, these consequences are as follows:

Schools receiving an overall grade of "A" and a Quality Score of "Well-Developed" or "Proficient" will receive financial rewards and automatically become empowerment illustration sites for other schools seeking to emulate their success.

Schools receiving an overall grade of "D" or "F" will be subject to school improvement measures and target setting and, if no progress is made over time, possible leadership change, restructuring, or closure. The same is true for schools receiving a "C" for three years in a row. Decisions among these outcomes will be based in part on:

  • Whether the school's Progress Report grade is an F, D, or C (for three consecutive years).

  • The school's Quality Review score.

  • Whether the school's grade or Quality Score has improved or worsened recently.

In summary, an Empowerment School is accountable for receiving an overall grade of A or B, or for improving from a C within three years. In order to avoid negative consequences, an Empowerment School is accountable each year for performing better than 15% of all NYC public schools during the recent past. Over the course of the four-year agreement term, schools must outperform the bottom 45% of those schools for at least one year. The consequences described apply to all New York City schools.

Academic Accountability Resources As part of the DOE's new accountability system, all schools will have a robust set of diagnostic assessment tools that will enable them, over the entire course of the school year, to identify students' strengths and weaknesses on the literacy and math skills and sub-skills that are part of the state standards. These tools will enable teachers to more effectively differentiate and target instruction and improve progress and outcomes and enable principals to identify teacher professional development needs.

Starting this September for Empowerment Schools (and starting in September 2007 for all other schools), schools must implement one of three options for periodic assessments:

  • A set of three (HS) or five (grades 3-8) assessments annually. This standard set of assessments will align with NY state learning standards and with the literacy (including writing) and math curriculum and scope and sequence in use in the greatest number of DOE schools5; or

  • A customized version of the standard system that adjusts the assessments to follow the curriculum and sequence in use in a particular school; or

  • A school-designed system of assessments (including potentially qualitative or portfolio assessments) with a capacity comparable to the standard DOE system to differentiate and compare different students' literacy and math skills and sub-skills and to trace progress throughout the school year6.

The available options will ensure that periodic assessments and the associated diagnostic tools:

  • Provide all teachers, students, and parents with frequent, reliable information on student capacities and progress on important literacy and math skills, and

  • Align with each school's curriculum and instructional program.

As part of the 2006-07 pilot of the new standard DOE assessment system, extensive training and support will be available to aid principals and teachers in the use of assessments to enhance learning, and in customizing and designing assessments to match the school's needs. Additional training will be provided in the use of all data, including that generated by the Progress Reports and Quality Reviews, to individualize and improve learning for all children.

Non-Academic Accountabilities With respect to non-academic performance in the areas of safety, student enrollment, fiscal integrity, or compliance, Empowerment Schools will be measured annually, although the DOE reserves the right to intervene frequently if necessary. At the end of each year, the DOE will review information relating to the following:

  • Maintaining a safe learning environment and complying with all safety-related regulations

  • Complying with all DOE enrollment, transfer and discharge policies

  • Spending consistent with your school's allocated budget

  • Complying with procurement laws and procedures

  • Reporting data timely and accurately

  • Complying with all other applicable laws, contracts, and regulations

  • Fulfilling requirements related to the evaluation and provision of services to students with disabilities and the identification and provision of instructional programming to ELL students.

A material deviation in any of these areas will result in immediate consequences.


Students in grades K-2 will continue as before to receive qualitative ECLAS and DIBELS assessments. Administration of these assessments will be made less time consuming through the use of handheld devices to record student answers.

To exercise this option, schools complete a one-page application that describes their alternative assessment system and demonstrates that the alternative is as rigorous as the DOE's basic system and aligns with state standards. Applications may be submitted to the Chief Accountability Officer. The DOE is committed to supporting schools to facilitate both the customization and design-your-own options, and is already working with groups of schools toward that end.

Red Alert!
Let's Opt Out of the April 2014 NYS Tests

Parents can refuse to allow their child to take the State high stakes tests. Hand in this letter to your principal [other formats: .pdf .odt .doc]. En Español: [otros formatos: .pdf .odt .doc] Send your child to school and ask that an alternative activity be planned for him/her during the 6 days of testing.

Information for Parents who want to Opt Out:

Feel free to duplicate these flyers and give them to other parents!

We also have a magazine explaining Common Core, High Stakes Testing, and InBloom to parents. Varios artículos de esta revista fueron traducidos a Español.

Opt Out New York
New material to support the April Boycott.
Please share this Powerpoint!
Developed by a Long Island parent.

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Did You Know?
Did you know that charter schools in New York City enroll fewer students who qualify for free lunch and fewer homeless students?

Music Video: "Not on the Test"
Produced by: Public School Test Records and Grammy Award-winner Tom Chapin

produced by Naava Katz Design