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Published in Print: January 19, 2000, as Alternative Chiefs' Group To Publish 'Results Cards'

Alternative Chiefs' Group To Publish 'Results Cards'

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An alternative organization for state education officials will publish a report card for at least seven states in a pilot project to gauge how standards-based improvement plans are affecting student achievement. The Washington-based Education Leaders Council has teamed up with StandardsWork Inc. to produce its first "results cards" next fall.

"A group of reform-minded state education chiefs have identified what we believe to be the key elements that states, districts, and schools need to monitor to know whether the reforms we are pursuing are having their intended effect," Eugene W. Hickock, the secretary of education for Pennsylvania and the ELC chairman, said in a statement.

The organizers said the project would take an approach different from that of other state report cards, which evaluate and rank state standards documents and measure school performance by such criteria as funding and teacher quality. Instead, the results cards will provide an audit of student-achievement factors and compare trends in the data against each state's professed goals and policies, according to Leslye Arsht, a co-founder of StandardsWork. That nonprofit Washington group was created by the Coalition for Goals 2000 to design tools for states and districts to implement standards.

The ELC was formed in 1995 as an alternative to the Council of Chief State School Officers, the main group representing state superintendents and commissioners of education.

Boom in Report Cards

A number of annual report cards produced by various nonprofit organizations—including Education Week's 50- state Quality Counts—have emerged over the past few years as most states have begun implementing standards and accountability programs. Still, some observers say, educators are eager for more information on how their efforts are paying off.

"The more reports like this the better, particularly if it provides a new angle on the issue," said Matthew Gandal, the director of standards and assessment for Achieve Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based organization set up by the nation's governors and key business leaders to help raise student achievement. But, he added, "the disparate nature of these reports clearly can be confusing to readers and state policymakers trying to make sense of them."

Vol. 19, Issue 19, Page 7

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