At the Forefront of the New Accountability Era

Early Implementation Findings from the CORE Waiver Districts
Julie A. Marsh
University of Southern California
Susan Bush-Mecenas
Northwestern University
Heather J. Hough
Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University
Vicki Park
San Diego State University
Taylor N. Allbright
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Michelle Hall
Chapman University
Holly Bichlee Glover
Smithsonian Institution


California and the nation are at the crossroads of a major shift in school accountability policy. At the state level, California’s Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) encourages the use of multiple measures of school performance used locally to support continuous improvement and strategic resource allocation. Similarly, the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reinforces this local control, requiring more comprehensive assessment of school performance and a less prescriptive, local approach to school support. These changes represent a major cultural shift for California schools and districts. Ahead of the curve, six California districts, known as the CORE waiver districts, have implemented an innovative measurement system and supports for school and district improvement under an NCLB waiver, and thus provide a unique opportunity to examine and learn from the enactment of a system supported by accountability policy in this new era. This report examines the early implementation and effects of the CORE reform and seeks to inform the ongoing efforts within CORE as well as the development and implementation of future accountability policy in other states and districts.

Suggested citationMarsh, J. A., Bush-Mecenas, S., Hough, H. J., Park, V., Allbright, T. N., Hall, M., & Glover, H. B. (2016, November). At the forefront of the new accountability era: Early implementation findings from the CORE waiver districts [Report]. Policy Analysis for California Education.