Publications & Resources

Validity Issues for Accountability Systems

Dec 2002

Eva L. Baker and Robert L. Linn

The purpose of this report is to provide an analysis of the validity issues that arise in the context of educational accountability systems. We will address validity from three interlocking perspectives. The first explores the theory of action underlying accountability provisions. Here, we will consider problems ensuing from the distance between aspirations for accountability in educational reform and the actual strength of the research base supporting sets of policies and procedures. A second component of our analysis will concentrate on the role of testing in accountability systems, as it defines the characteristics and potential of many systems. This discussion is grounded strongly in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, and National Council on Measurement in Education [AERA, APA, & NCME], 1999). The third set of issues will offer suggestions about an approach to improve the validity of accountability systems.

Baker, E. L., & Linn, R. L. (2002). Validity issues for accountability systems (CSE Report 585). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).