ERIC Number: ED428463
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
When Accountability Knocks, Will Anyone Answer?
Abelmann, Charles; Elmore, Richard; Even, Johanna; Kenyon, Susan; Marshall, Joanne
This report examines the problem of accountability from the perspective of schools, rather than from the perspective of external policies intended to influence schools. The objective was to learn about how people in schools actually think about accountability in their daily work. Data were collected through case studies in 20 schools, and the sample was intentionally constructed to maximize variability in conceptions of accountability. Results indicate that all the schools had distinctive solutions to the problem of to "whom" they were accountable. The lack of a guiding external-accountability environment explained a lack of uniformity in perceptions and, in most cases, solutions to the question of accountability were tacit, unarticulated, informal, and arose more from individual beliefs and values of teachers and administrators than from external sources. The default solution to accountability was characterized by individual teacher responsibility, where personal discretion overruled organizational expectations. Other schools exhibited discernible effects of collective expectations. A third group, exhibiting collective expectations, gelled into highly interactive, relatively coherent, informal and formal systems by which teachers and administrators held each other accountable for their actions. The study confirms the view that schools develop internal normative structures that are relatively immune to external influences. (RJM)
Descriptors: Accountability, Administrator Attitudes, Educational Environment, Elementary Secondary Education, Institutional Autonomy, Organizational Climate, Policy Formation, School Culture, Teacher Attitudes
CPRE Publications, University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education, 3440 Market Street, Suite 560, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3325 ($10).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. on Educational Governance, Finance, Policymaking, and Management (ED/OERI), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Consortium for Policy Research in Education, Philadelphia, PA.