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ERIC Number: EJ1006321
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 42
ISSN: ISSN-0957-8234
Educational Tug-of-War: Internal and External Accountability of Principals in Varied Contexts
Gonzalez, Raymond A.; Firestone, William A.
Journal of Educational Administration, v51 n3 p383-406 2013
Purpose: Principals face shifting accountability pressures from many sources. The most notable recent change in the USA has been the growing pressure from state and federal government. The purpose of this study is to explore the extent to which the accountability pressures experienced by principals in one American state were the same as those reported in research documenting "objective" changes in those pressures. Design/methodology/approach: This qualitative study uses interviews with New Jersey middle school principals. The purposeful sample includes principals who had been in their buildings at least three years and enhances variation on socioeconomic status (as measured by New Jersey's rating of "district factor groups") and school achievement. The authors averaged three years of achievement data and controlled for variation in poverty, ethnicity, language proficiency, and enrollment. A total of 37 principals were contacted; 25 were interviewed. Principals first rank ordered seven sources of accountability. They were then interviewed to learn why the one they ranked highest was most important. Findings: The most frequent top source of accountability was "your own conscience." Principals who selected this option highlighted a sense of personal responsibility, responsibility to the children in their charge, and how conscience mediates among competing accountabilities. Accountability to one's conscience was most prevalent in high achieving schools. Originality/value: Frequent reference to internal responsibility among leaders suggests that they continue to feel a strong sense of internal accountability in spite of increasing external pressures. It also illustrates the range of external, often conflicting pressures that principals face which include pressures from the public and the district office as well as state and federal government. In this increasingly prescriptive and contradictory environment the principal's moral code is important to her or his school. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure, and 2 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Jersey
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001