ERIC Number: ED430278
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Incentives in States' Educational Accountability Systems: Is the Assumption of Continuous Improvement Included?
DeBray, Elizabeth H.
This paper discusses the designs and effects of emerging state-level accountability systems. It claims that in a few years' time, state-level policymakers will be faced with recognizing that a substantial number of schools in their states will have failed to progress toward academic standards at the rate their reform plans demand. The paper has three sections. The first part examines some of the theories around state-level policies and performance-based accountability systems and places emphasis on the role of rewards and sanctions in improving instruction. The second section, by drawing on examples of accountability systems in three states (Kentucky, Maryland, and Mississippi), illustrates how the problem with schools in the "middle" (those that are neither failing nor producing high outcomes) is seen to emerge under different accountability policy regimes. The final section offers some possible future directions, such as differentiating and targeting policies, for thinking about incentives for continuous improvement under accountability policies. The article considers some common assumptions about school governance and education policy that have emerged in the 1980s and 1990s and that underlie accountability systems and uses these assumptions to ask questions about their effects on schools in the middle. Contains 35 references. (RJM)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).