The multidimensionality of school performance: Using multiple measures for school accountability and improvement


  • Min Sun University of Washington
  • Alec Kennedy University of Washington
  • Eric M. Anderson Seattle Public Schools



school performance, school accountability, school improvement, multidimensionality, multiple measures


The Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 grants states and districts the flexibility to use multiple measures to assess school performance and strategically manage public schools for improvement in the United States. However, there is a lack of systematic, evidence-based guidance for practitioners on how to interpret the complex relationships between these multiple measures. Drawing on the organizational management literature on the multidimensionality of organizational effectiveness, along with longitudinal data from Washington State, we illustrate the multidimensionality of school performance and different measurement properties of school performance data. We also find that schools that are higher performing in terms of students’ average scale scores and average growth percentiles in some cases have larger disparities in these same measures between historically underserved students of color and their peers than lower performing schools do. Moreover, these performance measures have time-series properties. The complexity of school performance measurement systems calls for continuous support for local educators to appropriately use school performance data to promote student success.


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Author Biographies

Min Sun, University of Washington

Min Sun (corresponding author) is an Associate Professor in Education Policy in the College of Education at the University of Washington. She specializes in economics of education, educator labor markets and quality, school accountability and improvement, and school finance policies.

Alec Kennedy, University of Washington

Alec Kennedy is currently an Educational Policy Analyst at San Francisco Unified School District. His work involves supporting the use of research evidence, conducting program evaluations using quantitative methods, and assisting in the review of data for continuous improvement. He received his PhD in Public Policy & Management from the University of Washington.

Eric M. Anderson, Seattle Public Schools

Eric Anderson received his PhD in Political Science from Stanford University and currently is Director of Research & Evaluation for Seattle Public Schools. He leads a team of experienced researchers that support evidence-based strategic planning and continuous improvement efforts using performance analytics and mixed methods program evaluation research.




How to Cite

Sun, M., Kennedy, A., & Anderson, E. M. (2020). The multidimensionality of school performance: Using multiple measures for school accountability and improvement. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 28, 89.