School Accountability

Transparent, objective school accountability systems increase student performance and spur school improvement.

Our ability to prepare students to successfully compete with their peers from countries around the world will determine America’s future in the global economy. Creating a school accountability system that ensures students are ready for college and career by the time they graduate high school is imperative for all K-12 systems. 

Why focus on accountability?

While many factors contribute to raising student achievement, experience shows that by holding schools accountable for student learning—by measuring student performance against objective standards—we see results.

Accountability itself does not improve student outcomes, but the data it produces should inspire action that will improve student outcomes.

School accountability is the foundation for a strong state education system because what gets measured, gets done. School accountability systems serve two main functions:​

  1. Define and measure what matters. ​
  2. Communicate the results. ​

Providing transparent information to all stakeholders – students, parents, teachers, administrators, policymakers, etc. – empowers them with data to facilitate continuous improvement, direct resources where they are needed most and make informed choices that are best for their family, school and community.


“Student achievement is on the rise in Mississippi because of our major focus on literacy, high academic standards and maintaining a strong accountability system that clearly shows how well schools and districts are serving students.”

Dr. Carey Wright

Mississippi Superintendent of Education

“I’ve often said that what gets measured gets done…we must know exactly where each student stands in their learning journey so we can best help them succeed in school and beyond.” 

Governor Jeb Bush

ExcelinEd Founder and Chair

Policy Solutions


Grading schools on an A-F scale, a policy designed in Florida and used in 14 other states, creates a shared sense of urgency for excellence, heightens focus on school quality, generates community support and provides clear information that everyone can understand.

Rigorous accountability policy has made Florida a national leader in improving student learning. The state’s fourth graders now rank 6th in the nation in reading achievement, improving by two grade levels since A-F school grading was implemented. In math achievement, they rank 4th in the nation, an improvement of three grade levels in that same timeframe.

Learn more about A-F school grading


High-quality, impactful school accountability systems rely on empowering parents and families with 21st-century student and school report cards that reflect state priorities, highlight the breadth of data and, most importantly, employ parent-friendly technology to turn student and school data into personalized stories.

Web-based school report cards can be a powerful online and mobile tool that empowers families by helping parents understand school data, make informed choices and engage with schools to discuss academic achievement.

Learn more about reinventing school report cards.  


Simple and effective policy changes can ensure that assessments serve their real purpose: measuring student achievement and providing actionable results that improve instruction and student learning. Fewer, Better Tests policy solutions give teachers more time to teach and ensure parents and teachers have access to easy-to-understand information to help their student.

Learn more about fewer, better tests.

Meet the Expert