Delaware has chosen a simple list of high-quality indicators to include in its accountability system.
It plans to use academic achievement, academic growth, ninth-grade on-track, chronic absenteeism, college- and career-preparedness, graduation rates, and progress on English-language acquisition. In addition to the indicators used for formal school-rating purposes, Delaware has clearly articulated another set of measures that it will track and report on school report cards for public transparency purposes.
The “college- and career-preparedness” indicator is particularly noteworthy.
The state proposes reporting the percent of students who are postsecondary-ready — as evidenced by demonstrating college readiness (earning at least one of these: AP credit, IB credit, other postsecondary credit, or a college-readiness score on the SAT) and career readiness (earning at least one of these: a recognized industry credential, a certificate of multiliteracy, work-based learning credit, or a military-ready score on the ASVAB). Delaware should monitor its data to ensure that each measure aligns with later success, but it deserves credit for pushing in a direction that allows all students to demonstrate advanced skills along multiple pathways.
Delaware has not given much detail about how its measures will be calculated.
It also does not specify how indicators such as academic progress and school quality/student success will be folded into the accountability system. The growth measures are particularly confusing. As another example, Delaware is proposing to incorporate four-, five-, and six-year graduation rates into its accountability system, but it does not specify how it would weight each of those, or if it would keep a primary focus on the four-year rate.