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ERIC Number: ED562083
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 24
Do You See What I See? The Impact of School Accountability on Parent, Teacher, and Student Perceptions of the School Environment
Whitesell, Emilyn Ruble
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
School accountability systems are a popular approach to improving education outcomes in the United States. These systems intend to "hold schools accountable" by assessing school performance on specific metrics, publishing accountability reports, and some combination of rewarding and sanctioning schools based on performance. Additionally, most states and many districts rank or categorize schools in some capacity. New York City (NYC), in particular, was an early adopter of a letter-grade (A-F) ranking system. School letter grades are intended to provide "new" information about school quality and to affect how community members view their schools. Ultimately, however, whether accountability letter grades influence stakeholders' perceptions of schools is an empirical question. This paper explores the extent to which NYC's letter-grade accountability system affects parent, teacher, and student perceptions of their schools; in particular, it focuses on agreement about academic expectations and discipline, as much research documents the relationship between these school factors and student outcomes. The analysis addresses two key research questions: First, does NYC's accountability system affect parent, teacher, or student perceptions of their schools? Does it improve or worsen perceptions, and how does this vary by stakeholder group and school context? Second, does NYC's accountability system affect congruence in stakeholder perceptions, both within and between groups? That is, does accountability contribute to a shared understanding of the school environment among parents, teachers, and students? This study uses New York City data for the 2006-07 (2007) to 2011-12 (2012) academic years. The school-level analytic sample includes all middle schools with at least ten percent of parents, teachers, and students responding to the Learning Environment Survey (LES). The analytic sample includes approximately 95% of all NYC middle schools. Results indicate that in NYC, accountability increases within-group congruence for parents and teachers but decreases congruence for students. Furthermore, accountability positively affects stakeholder perceptions of expectations and discipline, with the exception that accountability contributes to lower student perceptions of expectations. Tables and figures are appended.
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2040 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208. Tel: 202-495-0920; Fax: 202-640-4401; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness (SREE)
Identifiers - Location: New York