At NACSA, we work to ensure students and communities—especially those who are historically under-resourced—thrive. Thriving means different things for different students, schools, and communities. And to ensure we capture the value a school provides for its students, we must expand how we assess school performance and hold schools accountable for a variety of student outcomes. We call it Multiple Measures: a both/and approach to school accountability that combines traditionally used measures like student growth and proficiency on state assessments, graduation rates, or subgroup comparisons, with measures that reflect a school’s specific, mission-aligned goals like broader aspects of student learning, social emotional well-being, or career readiness, among many other things.
NACSA has developed tools and resources to consider how Multiple Measures can be integrated into charter school accountability, including elevating mission-specific goals in our latest performance framework guidance. We know that operationalizing Multiple Measures is not easy, but it is work that a visionary group of authorizers and charter leaders across the country have been doing for years now. Many are partnering with A-GAME through the National Charter Schools Institute, implementing their Responsive Goals approach.
In early June, Morgan Powell, Melissa Izzo, and I joined over 100 of these visionaries from various corners of the education space – authorizers, school leaders, researchers, and others – to reimagine accountability together at the annual A-GAME convening in Denver. We were invited to share NACSA resources and lead a session on the topic of credibility of measures and measurement tools.
The energy, pace, and rich content made the convening fly by. From walking in and registering Thursday afternoon, the conversations, connections, and collaboration did not stop until it was time to go Friday afternoon. In little more than 24 hours, attendees learned about recent research developments; explored tools and resources, like A-GAME’s new data hub; and problem-solved operationalizing challenges together. Something we always hear from the field is the desire for actionable resources and meaningful in-person time to talk, listen, and learn from one another. On both measures, the team at A-GAME delivered.
It was invigorating to hear the ways attendees were thinking critically about what to measure, which set Morgan and me up for our session on how to measure it using NACSA’s Multiple Measures Credibility Assessment Tool. While many are still considering readiness for this work (use our Readiness Assessment to test yourself), this session showed us that some authorizers are already deep in conversations with schools and communities about the credibility of different measures, and grappling with the implications of this work on high-stakes decision-making.
Maybe most exciting of all: the conversations are far from over. We are looking forward to NACSACon 2023 in October, where 500+ attendees will convene in Oakland, CA to continue the conversation. Several conference sessions will focus on accountability and Multiple Measures—including collaboration with A-GAME and their early adopters. Register now for NACSACon 2023 to join the conversation and be part of building what’s next.
Director, Authorizer and School Quality