NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

More School Report Cards Needed

January 8, 1999

Few states have established policies that reward public schools which do well and chastise those which fail to educate students, according to an exhaustive survey by Education Week.

  • Only five states -- Indiana, Maryland, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas -- have in place a full range of policies which reward or punish schools, depending on performance.
  • Of the five, only Texas and North Carolina had comprehensive programs and results of standardized test scores between 1990 and 1996.
  • The report identifies six essential steps states must take to hold schools accountable for performance: tests, report cards, school ratings, rewards, assistance and sanctions.
  • Thirty-six states issue school report cards that describe how well schools are doing in educating students -- but only 13 of them require the report cards to be sent to student's homes.

Every state but Iowa and Nebraska will have statewide tests in 1999 -- which is considered the minimum a state can do to measure schools' performances.

Nineteen states will rate their schools this year on overall quality.

Source: "Quality Counts '99," Education Week, January 11, 1999; Tamara Henry, "Few States Reward Successful Schools or Punish Low Performers, Study Says," USA Today, January 8, 1999.


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