School Performance Measurement in California’s CORE School Districts: A Policy Analysis

This grant will analyze the California Office to Reform Education’s (CORE) efforts to develop a comprehensive school performance measurement system.

In response to criticism that existing measures of school performance rely too heavily on test scores and omit other indicators that are important to student success, CORE includes a broader array of performance measures. The CORE model is being implemented in eight urban school districts that serve large proportions of low-income, minority, and English-language learner students. Student performance measures include standardized test scores, annual growth in student performance, expulsions, absenteeism, and social-emotional learning. There are also indicators of the school environment, including disproportionate special-education placements and school culture. The CORE system is also explicit in its focus on school improvement and minimizes the role of school sanctions. Toch and his colleague Robert Rothman will document the development of the CORE model, offer insights into its strengths and weaknesses, and address emerging questions about comprehensive school evaluation models. Toch and Rothman will interview key stakeholders involved in establishing the CORE model and in developing and validating the model’s measures. The team will also conduct site visits with several representative schools to document their experiences with implementation. The grantees will produce a report that conveys districts’ successes and struggles as they develop and implement this new accountability system.

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