Working paper

School effectiveness, summer loss, and federal accountability: Applying the compound polynomialmodel in a program evaluation context



Under The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015, school are being held accountable for their contributions to student growth in math and reading achievement. Meanwhile research shows that estimates of school effectiveness are sensitive to whether they account for the time students spend out of school during the summer. Despite the importance of student growth under ESSA and evidence on how summer learning loss can impact estimates of school effectiveness, most statistical models used in research and accountability do not account for the seasonality of achievement data. In this study, we apply the Compound Polynomial or “CP” model in a school evaluation context. The CP model addresses the seasonality of student test scores by simultaneously estimating between- and within-year growth. By presenting the CP in this context, we provide a new statistical model that can be used to estimate school effectiveness in the presence of seasonal data. From a policy standpoint, we produce evidence on how much ignoring summer loss may impact school accountability determinations under ESSA and other accountability frameworks that draw evidence from trends in assessment data.

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