Policy brief

California’s Public Schools Accountability Act (PSAA)

Evaluation Findings and Implications
Bruce Fuller
University of California, Berkeley
Diane Hirshberg
University of Alaska Anchorage
Emlei Kuboyama
Stanford University
Elisabeth L. Woody
Policy Analysis for California Education


Accountability for student results has been the focal point of education reform since the mid-1990s, when states across the country began instituting performance-based accountability policies as part and parcel of their standards-based reforms. Helped along in this direction by the 1994 Improving America’s Schools Act, states are now being further challenged by the intensified accountability demands of the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). If states are to succeed in responding to NCLB, they will need to understand and incorporate lessons learned in preceding accountability efforts.

To that end, this evaluation brief summarizes the main findings and implications of the legislatively mandated, independent evaluation of California’s Public Schools Accountability Act of 1999 (PSAA), conducted by the American Institutes for Research (AIR), with support from Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE) and EdSource.