Friday, April 5, 2013

The Breadth of Real Accountability

Unfortunately, Accountability in education has taken on a very narrow meaning. The term almost always refers just to the use of quantitative data (i.e. most often test scores) to mete out sanctions. Sometimes it refers to to meting out rewards as well, though that is far less common.

In my research, I have asked high school leaders about the full range of accountabilities they face. I have tried to get a fuller picture of what they face and are held responsible for.

The range is pretty damn broad.

So, below is a very simple typology of categories and sub-categories of accountances (i.e what they accountable for), without the complications of the accountors (i.e. whom they are accountable to). It is not a list of individual accountances, as each sub-category is itself full of different kinds and examples of professional responsibilities. Each of those is itself a group of accountabilities.

For example, even test scores is complicated. Of course, there are the tests connection to our test-based accountability (TBA) policies. But schools (and their leaders) are also held accountable for SAT and AP test performance by one constituency or another. Many states have end of course exams (EOCE's), adding more tests that are not even connected to TBA policies (e.g. New York's Global History and Geography Regents Exam). And test score is just one sub-category under Student Outcomes, just one of 46 different sub-categories across the range.

·  Everything
·  Help Lift the School System
School Offerings
·  Quality Education
·  Academics
·  Athletics
·  High School Experience
·  Character/Affective Education
Student Outcomes
·  Test Scores
·  System-Wide Goals
·  Graduation Rate
·  College Application Process
·  Learning
·  Prepare for Future/Skills
·  Students' Futures
·  Guilt
Students & Safety
·  Students
·  Relationship with Students
·  Safety/Discipline
·  Students Off School Grounds
Teachers and Staff
·  Staffing
·  Support Staff
·  Instruction
·  Supervision
·  Be Part of Community
·  Help Parents
·  Public Relations
·  Support PTA Growth
Organizational Context
·  Policy Context
·  Relationship w/ Supervisor
·  Relationship w/Peers
Branch Administration
·  Budget
·  Purchasing
·  Miscellaneous To District Offices
·  Physical Plant
·  Cafeteria & Transportation
·  Leave a Smooth Operation Behind
Classic Leadership
·  Culture/ Environment
·  Good/Fair Decisions
·  Interpersonal Leadership
·  Keep People Out of Trouble
·  Vision
·  Own Character
·  Pay It Forward
·  Representing
Owe An Accounting
·  Owe An Accounting

So, the next time you think that our current accountability policy framework addresses anything other than a tiny fraction of what accountability really means in schools, stop and look at that list again. The next time you heard others talking about accountability, without even a tacit acknowledgement that there is more than test-based accountability, refer them to that list.

No comments:

Post a Comment