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ERIC Number: ED355654
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Oct-31
Pages: 37
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Towards a Resolution of a Paradox between Diversity and Accountability for School Administrators: Application of the Principles of Feminist Assessment.
Shapiro, Joan Poliner; And Others
Recent debates regarding the crisis in American education have led to two essentially contradictory positions: one calling for a movement away from a unified concept of education toward a concept which recognizes and incorporates diversity; and the other calling for increased accountability on all levels of education. The purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze these two positions from the perspective of educational administration, and then to offer a solution which may be capable of resolving some of the paradoxes inherent in these two reforms. A multicultural curriculum should address issues of race, ethnicity, gender, social class, sexual diversity, and bilingualism. Some feel this vision threatens the school's traditional function of transmitting the dominant culture; in any case it poses the question: can schools be reconceptualized to represent and value diversity while at the same time maintaining that historical role? This problem becomes almost unsolvable in light of the present strident demands for accountability through the use of national tests. Ensuring accountability through standardized tests is a central theme of "America 2000" and other recent reform efforts. Although understandable, efforts to promote accountability through tests raise certain major concerns: (1) that they cannot in fact produce genuine accountability nor ensure real improvement in student learning; and (2) that they will negatively affect already disadvantaged groups such as minorities, the disabled, and the poor and all others who do not fit the white, middle class norms which seem to have informed "America 2000." One solution to the dilemma posed by the two reform trends arises from a national investigation of Women's Studies Programs called "The Courage to Question," which resolves issues of diversity and accountability through a new form of feminist assessment that is: (1) able to question almost everything related to assessment; (2) student centered; (3) participatory; (4) contextual; (5) decentered; (6) connected to activism; (7) compatible with its beliefs; (8) connected to the power of its pedagogy; and (9) connected to its interdisciplinary scholarship and research methodologies. These feminist approaches to diversity and accountability may increase the compatibility of learning, teaching, and assessment and raise important issues of value that expand the options available to the assessment movement as a whole, they also broaden the discussion of assessment as it relates to public school accountability and diversity. (Contains 40 references.) (TEJ)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Administrators
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A