Accountability in education

The Aspen Institute Education and Society Program produced a wrap-up of its July 2009 workshop on accountability policy, focusing on six core principles as a framework for future discussion. Workshop participants recommended that education accountability systems should:
  1. Set clear outcome goals and progress targets
  2. Account for all groups of students
  3. Employ multiple sources & types of evidence
  4. Communicate clearly to all stakeholders
  5. Motivate people at all levels of the system
  6. Work within a comprehensive system to improve outcomes
The group found that:
Calibrating the right mix of pressure and support is complicated in our system of divided school governance, because it is difficult to coordinate across the systems. Under current rules, one level establishes the overarching accountability goals and targets (federal), another sets the standards and assessments upon which the determinations will be based (state), and yet another (district) is charged with performance management and technical assistance to low-performing schools – and all three control elements of resource allocation....Accountability policies should be cognizant of the tensions inherent in setting policies across these levels and seek to maximize the comparative advantage of each.

Core Principles for New Accountability in Education (pdf, 19pp/576kB), April 16, 2010



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