The Alabama Accountability Act (AAA), passed by the Alabama State Legislature in 2013 and amended in 2015, established a statewide scholarship program for low-income students to attend public or private schools. The scholarship program is funded by a tax credit program, and the scholarship awards are managed by Scholarship Granting Organizations (SGOs), which must comply with standards set by the AAA. All students receiving scholarships must meet family income eligibility requirements. Priority is given to students who are zoned to attend a failing public school as designated by the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). Scholarships are awarded from the SGO to the student to attend a school that must meet standards set forth in the AAA. The Alabama State Department of Revenue oversees the implementation of the AAA. Reports generated by ISSR fulfill the evaluation component of the 2013 Alabama Accountability Act by providing evidence for the academic achievement of scholarship recipients.
Schools accepting scholarship students must “annually administer either the state achievement tests or nationally recognized norm-referenced tests that measure learning gains in math and language arts to all students receiving an educational scholarship in grades that require testing under the accountability testing laws of the state for public schools.” The purpose of these tests is to assess the learning gains for scholarship recipients and to provide a means of comparing scholarship recipients to students who attend Alabama public schools.
Evaluation Reporting Requirements:
- The learning achievements of students receiving educational scholarships are aggregated by grade level, gender, family income level, number of years of participation in the tax credit scholarship program, and race of the student receiving an educational scholarship.
- A comparison of the learning gains of students participating in the tax credit scholarship program to the statewide learning gains of public school students with socioeconomic and educational backgrounds similar to those students participating in the tax credit scholarship program.
- A report to be made every two years, starting in 2016.
For more information, access the evaluation reports.