We Believe Information Really Does Work
Rhode Island has taken a somewhat unique path regarding school accountability, as compared with the other 49 states. Since RI considers the school, not the student, to be the unit of accountability, we developed an information-gathering and reporting system with a wide variety of accountability facets and thus more ways of viewing school functioning than our fellow states. From the hands-on approach of the SALT visit teams who observe schools firsthand to the details that govern the research methods of the ďvalue-addedĒ charts, Rhode Islandís considerable accountability mechanism depends on multiple information lenses. Before imposing high-stakes testing or prematurely harsh sanctions, RIís policy is to give the schools good information to allow them to determine how they might best improve, given their unique student population.
Portraits of School Functioning
Over the past four years, the Information Works! design team has developed a series of stand-alone charts that are updated annually, created to show the stateís districts or schools together through lenses of comparable data. We offer them here, just as we do the school and district pages, as information we find indicative of school functioning. The charts at hand give us different perspectives on student achievement, community financial support, school climate, and other issues. The variety of data perspectives is critical to the RI agenda because just as you should never judge a student on the basis of her performance on a single test, nor should schools be evaluated on less than several different indicators.