chapter  6
The Impact of Accountability Policies in Texas High Schools
Pages 26

Making schools accountable through state testing was the preeminent educational reform of the 1990s. Thirty-nine states now administer some form of performance-based assessment; twenty-four states attach stakes to their tests; and forty states use tests scores for school accountability purposes (Stecher and Barron 1999). Proponents argue that using student scores on curriculum-based tests as a measure of school effectiveness encourages teachers to teach the curriculum. It sets a minimum standard against which schools can be judged; and it quantifies school “quality” in a way that parents and politicians can easily understand. By setting student improvement goals for schools, the state can motivate school personnel to reach continuously higher, while also identifying those schools unwilling or unable to meet the prescribed goals.