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States and districts continue to monitor the COVID surges in their communities and adjust learning options accordingly. As some turn to virtual and remote options, questions remain about how best to measure accountability. The article below calls for a new accountability model for alternative and virtual K–12 schools.

See highlights below:

  • Skepticism has long extended to alternative schools and they are often viewed as low quality and poor performing.
  • However, these schools have a critical role to play serving students who aren’t served well by traditional schools.
  • This past year especially, these schools served as a haven for subsets of students.
  • Policymakers can ensure that alternative schools are serving them well by designing a novel accountability model that recognizes the unique missions and allows parents to compare schools in the alternative education sector.

A New Model

  1. Establish standards for student outcomes, including:
  • learning outcomes – pre- and post-assessments
  • completion – in the context of students’ goals
  • placement upon leaving and earnings – report where students go after they leave a school
  • student satisfaction and confirmation of purpose – survey students and parents to assess the value

2. Audit student outcomes data

  • protect against manipulation:
    • testing conditions
    • student data
  • auditors should be completely independent of the schools
  • schools should be required to switch auditors every five years


A strong model of outcomes-based accountability should:

  • encourage schools to innovate
  • give them room to carry out their unique missions
  • ensure that students are well-served.

Standardizing alternative education accountability would give parents and students the information they need to compare schools in the sector and select the one that best meets their needs.

Read full article HERE

Related report: A New Accountability Model for Alternative K–12 Schools

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