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Implementation & Accountability

Increase High School Completion

Implementation & Accountability


Because of the variety in proven interventions, states and communities have leeway to find programs that suit local values, opportunities and budgets. The key is to select strategies that have documented effectiveness, assure that they are implemented well and recognize the critical importance of a strong commitment to continuous program improvement.

  • Match expectations with sufficient resources.  Be clear about the goals, purpose and target audience for specific programs.  Provide sufficient resources to ensure fidelity to the evidence-based model or modify expectations to accommodate variances.
  • Identifying barriers.  Effective policy development requires the identification of factors that may impede effective implementation.

  • Make provisions for broad-based input.  When involvement will increase the likelihood that the needs of children and families are being met by the policy, engage community stakeholders (children and youth, parents, schools, providers, and local farmers and retailers) in implementation.

  • Support local capacity and communication. Provide technical assistance, monitoring and oversight to local programs and agencies.  Create opportunities for local-to-local communication, best practices sharing and local input on state policy decisions.

  • Support ongoing evaluation and continuous program improvement.

States like Mississippi and Colorado have created offices of dropout prevention within the state department of education. Among the responsibilities, these offices are typically charged with administering prevention resources, targeting and supporting local districts as they implement dropout prevention strategies and sharing district-level best practices statewide. In Mississippi, all school districts have developed local dropout prevention teams consisting of district administration, schools staff, local businesses and community partners and other stakeholders. These local teams work in partnership with the state Office of Dropout Prevention efforts and mirror the state Dropout Prevention Taskforce approach.

The Massachusetts Pathways to Success by 21 (P21) initiative was jointly developed by the state Departments of Workforce Development, Elementary and Secondary Education and Health and Human Services to align youth services throughout the state, particularly for those deemed most “at-risk.” The state actively encourages local collaboration by offering grants for cross-system partnerships at the local level to create plans for coordinated youth services.



Evaluation is essential for successful policy implementation and to ensure intended outcomes.  Accountability requires determining whether programs are implemented correctly, the right programs and strategies are used, progress is measured appropriately and children and families are benefiting.

·         Monitoring results.  Through data, other information and consultation, it is possible to determine if the results we set out to achieve for children and families have been attained.  By reexamining the selected indicators we can measure our progress toward the desired result.

·         Monitoring performance.  Oversight requires policymakers to determine if policy objectives have been achieved by focusing attention on the performance of specific programs or agencies. This involves reviewing individual programs and their impact on the lives of the people the program is designed to serve.


Determine if the strategies are contributing to better results and meeting performance standards.  

  • Assign responsibility for realistic outcomes.   Responsibility for outcomes should be designated based on the appropriate roles, resources and capacity of public and private stakeholders.

  • Establish oversight bodies that consistently review key actions by state agencies.

  • Measure and report progress to stakeholders and the community.  Require public availability of data to allow administrators, policymakers and the public to measure the state’s progress on key outcomes.


In Colorado, the State Council for Educator Effectiveness , originally established through an Executive Order, is charged with developing and recommending guidelines for adequate implementation of a high-quality educator evaluation system in which at least 50 percent of the evaluation is determined by the academic growth of their students.


Considering Co-Investment:
1. Are we consulting with appropriate experts, advocates and constituents?

2. Are we ensuring that families being consulted and that their views and experiences are being considered?


A checklist of questions to ask to monitor results and performance.


See the National High School Center’s High School Assessment, Accountability.


Considering Racial Equity:
1. Does this policy take into account differences in cultures and community norms?

2. Will/Is this policy improving racial equity?


A checklist of questions to ask in order to increase the likelihood of successful implementation.