Posted on October 14th, 2016

By Julie Marsh, Susan Bush-Mecenas, and Heather Hough

There are important lessons to be learned from the CORE districts, six of which developed an innovative accountability system under a waiver from No Child Left Behind (NCLB). This study examines how the CORE districts understood, implemented, and responded to the new accountability system implemented under the waiver. Our research indicates that a shift to greater flexibility and locally-determined capacity building efforts brings its own set of challenges, but substantial benefits as well. In summary, we find that: 1) district and school administrators greatly appreciated the shift toward a more holistic approach to measurement and an emphasis on support over sanctions; 2) most waiver districts adapted CORE’s accountability system to their local needs, revealing a tension between shared accountability and local variation; and 3) CORE’s measurement system and district-level collaboration hold promise for improving local systems, while efforts to improve schools through collaboration and capacity building remain a work in progress.

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