Re-Imagining Accountability in K-12 Education: A Behavioral Science Perspective
From the Abstract: “This paper notes that accountability in schools is of particular attention now, as Congress considers changes in policy and re-authorization of NCLB. The authors argue that the policy debate can be informed by literature from behavioral science on accountability (Lerner & Tetlock, 1999). This ‘working paper’ discusses the implications of the behavioral literature for schooling, where the mix of public and private purposes suggests the need for accountability to multiple constituencies, including public officials, parents, and students. It concludes that an effective accountability regime will involve (1) multiple forms of accountability; (2) multiple measures of educational practice and educational outcomes; and (3) feedback mechanisms to promote the improvement of practice. Moreover, it asserts that a multi-pronged accountability approach should specifically increase the use of professional accountability, which has historically been underutilized in schools.”
This paper adds value to assessment discussions through its review of behavioral literature and relevant studies in education policy. It is well organized and presented, and its overview of research focused on outcomes-based, rule-based, market-based and professional accountability are informative and thorough. Its usefulness stems from the review of these different forms of accountability and related research. This paper provides valuable information for policy makers and practitioners looking to increase program impact at a time of growing accountability concerns.