Office of Accountability

Question and Answer Document
Differentiated Accountability: External School Curriculum Audit (ESCA)
Corrective Action (year 1) Schools


Which schools must complete a curriculum Audit?

For the 2010-2011 school year, an External School Curriculum Audit must be conducted for all schools newly identified as Corrective Action (year 1), regardless of Title I status, according to SED guidelines and requirements under Differentiated Accountability. 

When is an External School-Based Curriculum Audit required?

Under New York State’s Differentiated Accountability System, schools identified as either Focused or Comprehensive Corrective Action (year 1) must undertake an ESCA within six months of identification.

What are district responsibilities?

Districts must complete and submit to SED an application for each newly identified Corrective Action (year 1) school (both Title I and non-Title I) that includes a Project Narrative as outlined in the application.  They must also select a vendor/evaluator using SED criteria, supervise the audit, submit the final evaluator’s report to SED and ensure that all report recommendations are incorporated into both the school level Action Plan and the district Corrective Action sections of the Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).

Is there a difference between schools that receive Title I funding and those that do not?

Districts with identified Title I Corrective Action schools will be eligible for a grant to cover the costs associated with conducting the External School Curriculum Audit. 

Districts with non-Title I schools must cover the costs associated with hiring a vendor to conduct the ESCA through its general funds or other funding sources

What is an External School Curriculum Audit?

The External School Curriculum Audit (ESCA) is an assessment of:

  • the alignment of the school’s curriculum with the NY State Learning Standards and the implementation of that curriculum; and
  • the alignment of the curriculum to instruction. 

The ESCA targets the identified accountability measure(s) and subgroup(s) not making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in Corrective Action (year 1) schools.

The ESCA results in a Curriculum Audit Report with recommendations, which are incorporated into the school’s next Comprehensive Educational Plan (CEP).  One additional appropriate Corrective Action, as per NCLB, and any other actions to be taken by the district must also be included in the Corrective Action Plan in the CEP. 

Who is responsible for approving the Corrective Action Plan included in the CEP?

The Plan is initially approved by the district and then submitted to SED for review.  SED will approve the CEP to ensure that ESCA recommendations are included and may require modifications if necessary.

Who can conduct an External School Curriculum Audit?

A vendor selected by the district through its own procurement procedures and policies may conduct an ESCA.  In selecting a vendor, the district should use the following criteria:

  • sufficient size, capacity and experience to complete the audit within the specified timeframe, including completion of the audit and submission of the External School Curriculum Audit Report and recommendations;
  • experience in delivering timely, high-quality pre-K through 12 educational products and services;
  • specific expertise in research based curriculum design, instruction, professional development and or systemic organizational improvement;
  • demonstrated understanding of the NYS Learning Standards in the identified content area(s);
  • a proven history of working successfully with districts and schools of similar demographics;
  • substantial experience in the identified accountability measure (s) and subgroup(s) identified for improvement; and
  • recognition by established professional educational organizations/institutions.

The vendor or independent evaluator must follow the SED protocols, guidelines and requirements.

Districts may consider the following general list of vendors:

  • curriculum auditing companies;
  • educational consultants;
  • institutions of higher education; and
  • professional organizations with experience conducting curriculum audits.

What if the district is a District in Need of Improvement (DINI) and has recently completed a required District Audit of Curriculum (AOC)?

If the school is located in a district identified as a DINI that must conduct an audit during the current school year the school level audit must be coordinated with the district audit.

If the school is located in a district identified as a DINI that has participated in a District Audit of Curriculum (AOC), the district may select the same vendor.  The vendor should take into consideration the existing District AOC Plan and whatever further actions that need to be taken, when developing recommendations for the school’s ESCA Report.    

If an AOC was completed in prior years, SED will review and determine further action for each school that has participated in the AOC on a case-by-case basis.

For additional information or assistance, please contact:
Schools in New York City:                                              Schools in Rest of State (ROS):         
Sandra Norfleet                                                             Lee York  
Phone- 718-722-2647                                                   Phone: 518-474-5923



Last Updated: December 1, 2010