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ERIC Number: ED503296
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Pages: 58
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 68
The Practical Relevance of Accountability Systems for School Improvement: A Descriptive Analysis of California Schools. CSE Report 713
Mintrop, Heinrich; Trujillo, Tina
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST)
In search for the practical relevance of accountability systems for school improvement, we ask whether practitioners traveling between the worlds of system-designated high and low-performing schools would detect tangible differences by observing concrete behaviors, looking at student work, or inquiring about teacher, administrator, or student perceptions. Would they see real differences in educational quality? Would they find schools that are truly more effective? In this study, we compare nine exceptionally high and low performing urban middle schools within the California accountability system. Traversing the nine schools, our travelers would learn that schools that grew on the state performance indicator tended to generate internal commitment for the accountability system. They eschewed the coercive aspects of accountability, maintained a climate of open communication, and considered the system as an impetus for raising expectations and work standards. On the instructional side, this commitment translated into the forceful implementation of structured language arts and literacy programs that were aligned with the accountability system. If our travelers expected to encounter visible signs of an overall higher quality of students' educational experience in the high-performing schools, they would be disappointed. Rather they would have to settle on a much narrower definition of quality that homes in on attitudes and behaviors that are quite proximate to the effective acquisition of standards-aligned and test-relevant knowledge. (Appended are: (A) Teacher and Student Questionnaire Variables; (B) Student Survey Scales; (C) Teacher Survey Scales; and (D) Classroom Observation Measures. Contains 8 tables.)
National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST). 300 Charles E Young Drive N, GSE&IS Building 3rd Floor, Mailbox 951522, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1522. Tel: 310-206-1532; Fax: 310-825-3883; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: University of California, Los Angeles, Center for the Study of Evaluation
Identifiers - Location: California