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ERIC Number: ED426451
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jan
The Political Legacy of School Accountability Systems.
Education Policy Analysis Archives, v6 n1 1998
Recent battles over proposed national testing programs do not tell the important political story about high-stakes tests. An overview of the politics of school-accountability systems is offered in this World Wide Web journal article. Politically popular, school-accountability systems in many states already revolve around statistical results of testing with high-stakes environments, meaning that the future of high-stakes tests does not depend on what happens in Washington. Rather, the existence of tests depends largely on the political culture of published test results. Most critics of high-stakes testing do not talk about that culture. They typically focus on the "practice legacy" of testing, and the ways in which testing creates perverse incentives against good teaching. More important may be the "political legacy," or how testing defines legitimate discussion about school politics. The consequence of statistical accountability systems will be the narrowing of purpose for schools, impatience with reform, and the continuing erosion of political support for publicly funded schools. Dissent from the high-stakes accountability regime that has developed around standardized testing, including proposals for professionalism and performance assessment, commonly fails to consider these political legacies. Alternatives to standardized testing that do not also connect schooling with the public at large will be politically unviable. (Author/RJM)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Accountability, Educational Change, Elementary Secondary Education, Outcomes of Education, Politics of Education, School Policy, Standardized Tests
Web site: http:/olam.ed.asu.edu/epaa/v6n1.html
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Arizona State Univ., Tempe. Coll. of Education.
Note: Electronic journal article. Made available via the EPAA web site (cited below).