Publications & Resources

Improving Accountability Models by Using Technology-Enabled Knowledge Systems (TEKS)

Jul 2005

Eva L. Baker

This paper addresses accountability and the role emerging technologies can play in improving education. The connection between accountability and technology can be best summarized in one term: feedback. Technological supports provide ways of designing, collecting and sharing information in order to provide the basis for the improvement of systems and outcomes. Because technological options are so varied and the future of their development unpredictable, the paper argues that the first screen for the review of technology is one addressing core functions the technology serves. Technologies can provide greater efficiency in managing information or serve to improve the quality of the information used to guide the system. At this point, these functions are frequently mutually exclusive, but in the future, wise selection of technology should involve a consideration of how the technology adds value by increasing quality and efficiency in the enterprise. Quality is added when more knowledge is available to the user. For choices that need to be made about investments, a set of criteria is provided to guide decision logic. Criteria include validity, accuracy, and utility, with an emphasis on users directly involved in learning (students and teachers). In addition, criteria are reviewed related to software/hardware operation, including security, backup, compatibility, resilience, and transparency. The assumption is that systematic application of criteria will influence the market to drive development of more useful systems for education at a cost that can be withstood. Throughout, examples of technology uses now and soon to be available are discussed. The paper concludes with two extended educational scenarios constructed to show elements of design and technology in practice in two very different settings.

Baker, E. L. (2005). Improving accountability models by using technologyenabled knowledge systems (TEKS) (CSE Report 656). Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles, National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing (CRESST).