ACCOUNTABILITY AND EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP IN SECONDARY AND HIGHER EDUCATION: THREE PERSPECTIVES
1 Tarleton State University (UNITED STATES)
2 Highland Park ISD (UNITED STATES)
3 Texas Christian University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2009 Proceedings
Publication year: 2009
Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:The purpose of this paper is to address the accountability measures imposed on secondary and higher education. The paper addresses issues such as: (1) secondary high stakes testing and testing of advanced coursework for college preparation; (2) transitions from high school to college with dual credit classes; (3) restrictive degree plan options and limited hours in baccalaureate degrees; and (4) the preparation of educational leaders to address these issues.
Each issue is addressed through a discussion of implications-secondary and university curriculum implications, instructional implications, and research implications. This paper extends the ideas of accountability and quality movements in public and higher education to definitions of learning outcomes that are tied to accountability tests and curricular offerings. The paper discusses accountability as a deeply embedded process rather than a consequence. It suggests that ways of leading (bringing changes in teaching and learning), assessment (determining the level of skill and content mastery), and school and university leadership (organizing the curriculum to maximize teaching and learning) are the result of educational policies as well as intended learning outcomes. The paper focuses on learning in the context that teaching and learning can be considerably facilitated by paying attention to the curriculum at both the secondary and higher education levels. Over the past twenty years, many states have established an "accountability system." At the secondary level, these systems were impacted by national legislation called the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) aimed at improving student achievement. States have been given the freedom to develop their own response to the accountability process, so no two are exactly alike. Inherent in each system is the need to capture student data in areas such as: performance on state assessment; graduation/dropout rates, and SAT/ACT or advanced placement scores and numbers. At the university level, state governing bodies have been concerned with enrollment, tuition, hours to degree, degree production and graduation rates. In one state, Texas, students are limited in the number of hours for the baccalaureate degree and if students take "excess" hours, they are charged a much higher tuition rate.
Carey (2009) has noted that state accountability systems are ultimately put in place "to improve colleges and universities on behalf of students and the public at large. This we know because affordability is declining, graduation rates are stagnant, and the few indicators of college student learning we can find, such as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, are so terrifying (most college graduates aren't proficient on a test of prose literacy) that we all but pretend they don't exist" (p. 1).
Most states have begun to gather useful information about teaching and learning not only in secondary schools but in higher education as well. According to Carey (2009), "While most states do not use the information they gather to create real incentives for institutional change, some do. If every state did nothing but adopt the best practices that already exist elsewhere, higher education accountability in America would be greatly improved" (p. 1). This paper describes the accountability practices in secondary education and higher education in Texas and the issues and implications associated with testing, curriculum, and teaching and learning.