Home > UCCS CLASS > Accountability in Schools #edchat

Accountability in Schools #edchat

Plato stated, “You can learn more from someone in an hour of play than you can in a year of conversation.” We do not value play in schools. But students learn so much from how they play with others. Kevin Carroll wrote the book “Rules of the Rubber Ball” to talk to society about how play allows us to embrace our creativity side.  The problem with testing creativity is very hard and more subjective for teachers.

We only measure those things that are easy to measure. We measure the memorization of facts or other items that are easy to create multiple-choice questions from. We need to measure those more complex skills, like creativity, critical thinking and problem solving. This is hard to do on a multiple-choice test. We need to learn to trust our teachers in how they grade and help grading become more standardized so that grades can be used for accountability. As a spouse of a former AP English teacher, the amount of time that goes into grading papers that have no accountability for how students learn is extremely frustrating.  My husband taught students how to write. But as a teacher, he could not prove that to our politicians with grades, the students still needed to be tested to determine what they know.

The key shift came when “during the past ten years federal policy focused more on changing classroom instruction for all pupils as a way to attain equity. Federal tactics have shifted from regulating school-site inputs and processes to demanding accountability for pupil outcomes.” (Kirst & Wirt, p. 302). The federal government needs to stick with regulating school-site inputs and processes. Using student outcomes to decide on funding will only assist the best schools and punish the worst schools.

The No Child Left Behind policy (NCLB) gave new meaning to accountability in education. It discussed five types: political, bureaucratic, professional, market, and moral. These types of accountability require the leaders to satisfy all their “customers” in education. These laws are a form of external control. Many studies show that internal accountability is what enhances student learning. Internal accountability is within schools among teachers, administrators, students, and families. Internal accountability is much harder to affect by governmental policy.

Peter Levine discussed in 2005 that external accountability requires standards and measures for the standards. Most teachers believe that these requirements portray a lack of trust towards teachers. If grading was standardized, schools and states could use grades, graduation rates and literacy rates to rank a school.  On the other hand internal accountability is when teachers and students want to facilitate and participate in learning because of learning or in order to please each other and parents. (http://www.peterlevine.ws/mt/archives/000644.html)

Some ways Levine suggests doing that are smaller schools, more planning time to discuss students, strengthen relationships between teachers and students, allow other teachers or community members to judge student work, and let teachers and schools decide how best to assess their students with only some guidance from the local or state agencies. Keeping accountability of student outcomes at the local level with teachers allows for the best interest of the students. The federal or state governments do not know what each individual school or student needs, but teachers can build a relationship and determine what is needed. With state and federal guidelines and support, the local agencies can analyze what students and schools need.


Reflection paper for UCCS LEAD 5160

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