[August 2012 Note to Visitors: This page was created in 2003 to assist districts developing accountability systems. Unfortunately many of these links are now out-of-date. As soon as I can I will research the web, particularly the Internet Archive, to salvage many of these fine documents.]

Large Urban District Accountability Systems

1. Cincinnati Public Schools

2. St. Paul Public Schools

3. Boston Public Schools

4. San Diego Unified School District

5. Houston Independent School District (HISD)


1. Cincinnati Public Schools

Cincinnati Public Schools Accountability System

Full Accountability Plan (download PDF)

The Motivational Effects of School-Based Performance Awards (PDF File)
By Carolyn Kelley, Allan Odden, Anthony Milanowski, and Herbert Heneman III
CPRE Policy Briefs, February 2000, Consortium for Policy Research in Education
A case study of the design of a school-based performance award program

2. St. Paul Public Schools

From December 2001 to May 2002 the Superintendent's Accountability Framework Task Force in St. Paul (MN) Public Schools met to "develop a proposal for an accountability framework that uses multiple measures to evaluate how well our schools are meeting the needs of all students". The Task Force of 39 members included teachers, principals, administrators, parents, the teacher union president, and representatives from community and business organizations.

St. Paul Accountability Plan, News Release

Superintendent's Accountability Framework Task Force Report (PDF File)
Recommendation for an Accountability Framework Based Upon Multiple Indicators of School Performance. Click on "Superintendent's Accountability Framework Task Force Report".

The Superintendent's Accountability Framework Task Force web site
Excellent source for links to accountability research

3. Boston Public Schools

Boston Public Schools Office of Research, Assessment, & Evaluation

Boston Public Schools Accountability System SY 2002 2003
(download Word File)

School Accountability FY2001 description

Whole School Improvement Plan

In-Depth Review

Abstract: What is the In-depth Review Process? Overview The in-depth review (IDR) component of the School Quality Review process is the means whereby each of Boston's public schools undergoes a formal accountability review every four years. Cluster based visiting teams comprised of a range of participants.

4. San Diego Unified School District

Standards, Assessment, and Accountability Research and Reporting Office

School Accountability Report Cards: 2001-02
Can download PDFs of SARCs for all school sites, Spring 2002

5. Houston Independent School District (HISD)

A system of assigning a performance and a progress rating to schools. Schools may receive performance ratings of Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, Low Acceptable, or Low Performing. The Current Performance Rating is based on the average of the percent passing the TAAS reading, writing, and mathematics subtests across all grades. Schools also receive progress ratings of Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, Minimal or No Progress. The Current Progress Rating for elementary schools is based on expected gain in TAAS performance. For secondary schools this rating is also based on dropout and attendance progress. Schools given a Current Performance Rating of Exemplary are not assigned a Current Progress Rating.

The HISD accountability system is similar to the TEA accountability system, however there are differences in the two systems. TEA rates schools in four categories: Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable or Low-Performing. The HISD system rates schools on a five-category scale: Exemplary, Recognized, Acceptable, Low-Acceptable or Low-Performing. Also, the HISD system factors in students who were absent or exempt from testing and special education students tested off grade-level.

Research and Accountability Department

HISD 2002 Accountability Rating Standards (PDF)
School Ratings for Spring 2002

Research and Accountability Presentations on HISD Accountability 2002 and TEA Accountability 2002

HISD Announces District Accountability Ratings
October 10, 2001

HISD today announced its district accountability ratings for the 2000-2001 school year. 36 schools received an Exemplary rating, up from 20 that received the rating last year. 107 schools were rated Recognized. 109 schools were rated Acceptable, up from 106 that received the rating last year. Last year 16 schools were rated Low-Acceptable, this year no school received that rating. 2 schools received a Low-Performing rating last year; this year no school received the rating.