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ERIC Number: EJ1147371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 8
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
Forum: Is Test-Based Accountability Dead?
Polikoff, Morgan S.; Greene, Jay P.; Huffman, Kevin
Education Next, v17 n3 p51-58 Sum 2017
Since the 2001 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), test-based accountability has been an organizing principle--perhaps "the" organizing principle--of efforts to improve American schools. But lately, accountability has been under fire from many critics, including Common Core opponents and those calling for more multifaceted measures of teacher and school performance. Yet the Every Student Succeeds Act, NCLB's successor law, still mandates standardized testing of students and requires states to have accountability systems. So, is accountability on the wane, or is it here to stay? If accountability is indeed dying, would its loss be good or bad for students? This issue's forum presents three different viewpoints on those questions. The first essay, "Why Accountability Matters, and Why It Must Evolve," by Morgan S. Polikoff, associate professor of education at the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education, discusses school accountability, specifically test-based accountability. Polikoff discusses how to counter the opposition to the policy of school accountability. His essay stresses the importance of recognizing that the design of accountability policy matters, and that policies must be refined over time, as the new Every Student Succeeds Act allows states to do. The second essay, "Futile Accountability Systems Should Be Abandoned," by Jay P. Greene, professor of education at the University of Arkansas, argues that while testing has failed to produce meaningful accountability, it has distorted the operation of schools to the detriment of educational quality--and it has proven politically unviable. The third essay, "If Parents Push for It, Accountability Can Work," by Kevin Huffman, former Tennessee commissioner of education, discusses how test-based accountability--even executed poorly--works. The new federal education law ensures that annual tests are here to stay, but it also formalizes a reality that has been true for a while: states decide what accountability for results looks like, and their choices will be shaped by public will.
Hoover Institution. Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-6010. Tel: 800-935-2882; Fax: 650-723-8626; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Elementary Education; Grade 8; Junior High Schools; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A