Publications & Resources

Accountability: Responsibility and Reasonable Expectations

Jul 2003

Robert L. Linn

Some of the central features of current educational accountability systems are discussed using the requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 as the primary example. It is argued that broadly shared responsibility is needed for accountability systems to contribute to improved education. It is also suggested that systems need to be designed in ways that are consistent with research and past experience. This requires the setting of ambitious performance standards and improvement targets, but ones that can reasonably be achieved given sufficient effort and supporting resources. These design features are contrasted with the NCLB requirements. Illustrations are provided of some of the state responses to the NCLB demands that attempt to avoid the over-identification of schools for improvement and sanctions.

Linn, R. L. (2003). Accountability: Responsibility and reasonable expectations (CSE Report 601). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).