Differentiated Accountability (DA) System is Iowa’s accountability model designed to provide support for public districts, accredited nonpublic schools and area education agencies (AEAs) when and where they need it most. The DA model is built to support compliance with state and federal law as well as build capacity in five conceptual areas essential to continuous improvement in education:

  1. Leadership
  2. Infrastructure
  3. Assessment and Data-Based Decision Making
  4. Universal Tier
  5. Supplemental and Intensive Tiers
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Continuous Improvement

DA supports continuous improvement with data protocols and facilitation guides to identify system-level needs. Protocols and facilitation guides are intended to be used with leadership teams and with meaningful inclusion of teacher perspective. The most recent materials and resources can be found on the ESSA Support Site. The resources on the ESSA Support Site are aligned with the required and optional school improvement components for schools in Iowa's ESSA Plan.

  • ESSA Data Review
  • ESSA Resource Allocation Review
  • Self-Assessment of MTSS Implementation (SAMI)
  • Action Planning
  • Universal Tier Tools
  • Supplemental and Intensive Tiers Tools
  • Evidence-Based Practices
A cycle chart depicting the Differentiated Accountability System process

The work of Differentiated Accountability is designed to align with Iowa's Multitiered System of Supports (MTSS).

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Universal Desk Audits

Public school districts, preschool programs, and accredited nonpublic schools submit a universal desk audit information yearly for compliance with state and federal legal requirements. If needed, further compliance review through a more detailed desk audit, remote interview, or on-site visit is conducted at a targeted or intensive level.

Universal desk audit information is submitted to the Department through the Consolidated Accountability and Support Application (CASA) from Sept. 15 through Dec. 15 of each year.

For questions on the AEA, K-12 Public School District or K-12 Nonpublic School desk audit, contact your School Improvement Consultant.

Preschool Desk Audits

Contact Mary Breyfogle at 515-326-1030 with questions.

Preschool Desk Audit Slide Decks

The Universal Preschool Desk Audit requires the submission of evidence for ten items related to the implementation of the Iowa Quality Preschool Program Standards or IQPPS. The following slide decks highlight what is necessary for each of the ten items:

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