System of Accountability

What does it mean to have a comprehensive accountability system? Many educators use the term “accountability” in reference to student test scores. While test scores are important, they are the culmination of previous practice. In a system of accountability, no student is more accountable than the teacher in the classroom and no teacher is more accountable for student achievement than the principal or superintendent. What is necessary is a comprehensive view of the activities in a district or school that contribute to student learning and success or failure. Leaders need to examine the relationship between variables such as teaching practices, curriculum, assessment and student indicators and how those parts of the system work in tandem to produce results.  Dr. Douglas B. Reeves from The Leadership and Learning Center™ calls these indicators ‘antecedents’ or those measurable indicators that inform district and school staff about the “how” and  the “why” you are getting the results you get on student test scores.

Reeve’s breaks this down to an examination of ‘cause’ and ‘effect’ data and examines the actions of the adults in the system. In Accountability in Action: A Blueprint for Learning Organizations he says, “When accountability is broadly distributed and its burdens fairly shared, the central outcome of accountability is not ranking or humiliating, but rather a relentless search for effective practice and practical solutions.  When accountability systems include the actions of adults, then the focus of the entire organization shifts to a constructive approach to improving professional practices of teachers and leaders."

Diagram of a Continuous Improvement Model & a System of Accountability

System of Accountability Power Point
Norfolk Public Schools Reform Using a System of Accountability
Data Driven Decision-Making and Continuous Improvement
The Right Way to Measure Growth by Paul Barton
Leading to Change by Douglas Reeves
Clear Answers to Questions about Accountability by Douglas Reeves
Landmark Elementary–Pajaro Valley, Watsonville, CA
Fort Bend School District–Texas
Kings Canyon Middle School–Fresno, CA
Essential Readings (click highlighted area for list)