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  • John Tanner

The direction of True Accountability

Make four columns on a page and seven or so rows. In the first column make a list of four or five things answering the question: why do we educate children? Then below that list add the things in your state that make it into the state's version of educational accountability, such as test scores, attendance, or graduation rates.


Now label the second column "easy to measure?" Put a Y next to those things that are, and an N next to those things that are not.


Label the third column "included in the state's accountability?" Put a Y in the column to indicate those things that are, and an N next to those things that are not.


Label the fourth column "effect?" That just means the result, the accomplishment, etc. Put a forward facing arrow in the the fourth column to indicate those things that are in the future, and a backwards facing arrow to indicate those things that are in the past.


Now stare at the pattern in the results. What do you see that thousands like you who have done this exercise have also seen? What does that say about our current approach to educational accountability? What does that tell us about why we might need something different going forward?

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