Outcomes based Accountability?


In some previous posts (See herehereherehere  and hereJust-questions voiced concerns about standardised testing as a basis for making teachers accountable for students’ learning.  Recently my friend Ajay Sharma drew my attention to a piece written by Nancy Folbre [an economist at University of Massachusettes] in NYT. She draws upon the economic theory to suggest that the high stakes tests-based accountability strategy can backfire.  She argues that high stakes assessment 1) diminishes the incentives to focus on non-cognitive but important aspects of learning for later success in schools, and 2) reduces incentives for collaboration between teachers. She refers to another study by fellow economists to establish the usefulness of such collaboration:

In a fascinating study of the effect of supportive social networks on teacher productivity, Carrie Leana of the Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh found that both the amount of time that teachers spent talking to peers and teacher stability had positive impacts on student outcomes. In other words, the development of “social capital” contributed to the productivity of human capital.

Apart from these arguments there is also the case of states and schools gaming the system [tweaking the standards, discouraging the potential low scorer, and cheating, just to name a few games] in order to achieve a high score.

Another brief excerpt from this piece below:

Effective schools require effective teacher assessments. But efforts to improve educational accountability have a long history, thoughtfully analyzed in a new book, “High-Stakes Reform: the Politics of Educational Accountability,” by myUniversity of Massachusetts colleague Kathryn McDermott. The most important lesson, she concludes, is not that we should stop trying to measure performance but should “resist pressure to oversimplify and reach for all-purpose carrot-and-stick combinations.”

If we want super teachers, we need to be super careful about how we assess them.

via Nancy Folbre: What Makes Teachers Productive? – NYTimes.com.

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About Irfan

I am an independent researcher and blogger interested in everything under the sun, but more so in the philosophy and history of education and education reform generally, and specifically in the so-called post colonial contexts

2 Responses to “Outcomes based Accountability?”

  1. Assessment whether it is of students or teacher is always problematic. Most reliable test is more invalid.

  2. The basic reason of declining education system lies in the fact that there is no accountability system at primary level,which is cry of the day.there is no alternative in present situation. Who will take the first step .The society have been derailed from any healthy activity by producing fake crises of different types.

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