North Dakota has included several noteworthy indicators.
In addition to achievement, growth, and English language proficiency, North Dakota has included two indicators in its accountability system that are worthy of highlighting: student engagement and a “Choice Ready” measure.
The state will use a survey of student engagement to measure school quality.
This has the potential to capture student perceptions of their school environment, but North Dakota should proceed thoughtfully to ensure the validity and reliability of such an instrument, and ensure that its use and weighting are supported. The state may also want to consider how it will respond and support schools based on what the survey reveals.
North Dakota aims for every student to graduate ready for college, career, or the military through a “Choice Ready” indicator.
This indicator sets forth a common set of expectations for all students, as well as additional requirements specific to each pathway. The state should monitor implementation and ensure that this measure does not lower teacher expectations for certain groups of students, or lower those same students’ expectations of themselves.
The state’s graduation rate indicators have strengths and weaknesses. On the positive side, North Dakota’s decision to include five- and six-year graduation rates will encourage schools to prioritize students who may need additional time in high school. However, it is unclear how the 13 percent weight assigned to graduation rates is distributed across the state’s three proposed measures. North Dakota could further strengthen its plan by weighting the four-year graduation rate more heavily.