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Accountability is an important part of the educational system in the United States. Accountability is about assigning a responsibility to conduct activities in a certain way or to produce specific results (Hoffer, 2000). The concept applies to almost everyone involved in the educational system. Teachers must adhere to lesson plans and learning objectives, school administrators must ensure all applicable laws are being followed, and students have the responsibility of completing assignments and keeping up with the rest of the class. Even parents have some level of accountability. Parents have the responsibility of working with teachers and school administrators in cases where their child is failing to meet expectations. Parents also typically have the responsibility of providing transportation to and from school. A quality educational system is created when each person meets expectations and fulfills whatever responsibility was assigned to them.
Teachers are held accountable in the educational system, both for their own conduct and also for the performance of the classes that they instruct. Goodland (1990) explains how teachers have a moral responsibility to look after the interests of their student. In other words, the best teachers are not simply doing their jobs in order to get paid. They are interested in helping people further themselves in life by obtaining a quality education. Some of the best teachers are passionate about what they teach. Some criticism has arisen over the fact that many schools hold teachers accountable based on their test scores. Adams et al. (2009). Explain how there is sometimes an exaggerated amount of attention paid to standardized test scores. It is possible for a teacher to have a positive impact on a student’s life, even if the student does not perform well when taking tests. Teachers can offer advice and other guidance for students, and it may not show up whenever test results are being interpreted.
On the other hand, test results and grades are an important way of keeping teachers accountable. A way of measuring progress is essential to the concept of accountability. If teachers are not meeting specific goals related to student progress, then it is likely that they are doing something wrong. Several scholars have proposed that additional measures of accountability be implemented. McCaffrey et al. (2003) think that students should be able to perform evaluations of their instructors. In other words, a school board would look at the test scores for a particular class. Before making a conclusion that the teacher is the problem, the board would then give students surveys about their instructor. The students would be given the opportunity to provide feedback on whether or not their teacher was doing a good job. The results of such surveys, when combined with test score results, would likely give school administrators a good idea of whether poor performance was as a result of a teacher’s failures, or if it was a result of a class of students that would have performed below average regardless of who was instructing the class.
Some form of action is usually taken whenever someone fails to meet up to expectations. For teachers, the result is usually a loss of employment. Some instructors may be given a warning before they are let go. A repeated failure to meet expectations likely results in a loss of employment for a teacher.
Accountability for school administrators is an important topic. Newmann et al. (1997) explain how teachers are only able to make the best of the resources that they are given. It is the task of school administrators to work with politicians and other organizations in order to increase the amount of funding that is given to their school. While teachers are sometimes held accountable for poor student performance, administrators are held accountable for out of date facilities and a lack of school supplies for students. Overcrowded classrooms are another thing that administrators are sometimes held accountable for. Even the best teachers in the world could potentially be limited if their classes are too overcrowded (Russel et al., 1987). Another responsibility of school administrators is to ensure that their facility is in compliance with all applicable laws. The Federal government has passed laws that require classroom locations to be accessible by students with disabilities (Sorkin, 2000). School administrators are held accountable in cases where a building does not comply with all accessibility laws set forth by the Federal government.
School administrators are also held accountable with regard to teacher performance. Whenever it comes to light that many students under one teacher are not performing well, it is possible that the teacher’s method of instruction is to blame. School administrators have the task of reviewing the teacher and making an assessment of whether or not the teacher is a good match for their school. In addition, school administrators play an important role in creating curriculums (Leithwood & Montgomery, 1982). Teachers are usually limited by whatever curriculum is available to them. Although they may make adjustments and lesson plans, they must ultimately follow along with the curriculum. As such, the responsibility of creating quality curriculums, and also of making adjustments when necessary, falls on the shoulders of school administrators. As with teachers, school administrators that fail to meet expectations may be subjected to things like a loss of employment or a demotion to a lower position in the school. The task of monitoring student performance, teacher performance, and adherence to legal regulation can be challenging. School administrators can benefit from being alert about things that are going on at their facility, and responding quickly whenever changes are needed.
Students are held accountable in the educational system in the United States. Students are held accountable by several different parties. Rockoff (2004) explains how the amount of attention that teachers give to students is related to their academic achievement. In other words, teachers who hold students accountable are usually better at helping their students succeed than those who do not. If a teacher has a poor attitude and does not believe that a student can succeed, then that attitude may rub off on the student and prevent them from trying their hardest in school. Teachers hold students accountable by talking to them when they perform poorly or contacting their parents in cases where they repeatedly fail to meet expectations.
Students are also held accountable based on their performance. Standardized tests are one objective way to gauge differences in student achievement (Kane et al., 2002). Students who perform far below average on standardized tests are usually instructed to meet with teachers and parents in order to get to the bottom of the problem. Standard grades are another way of holding students accountable.
Lastly, parents play a role in accountability in the school system. Parents have the responsibility of making sure that their children have transportation to school, and that the child actually does attend class. Parents can take disciplinary action if they discover that their student is repeatedly ditching class or not finishing homework.
Accountability involves assigned responsibility to one or more parties. Whenever the responsibilities are failed, a course of action is taken in order to improve conditions. Accountability applies to school administrators, teachers, students, and parents.
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