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Volume 18, Number 2
March/April 2002

Six Principles of Effective Accountability

Accountability-based reforms should lead to better teaching and learning-period


"We have to think about accountability in a very different way," says Douglas B. Reeves, chairman and founder of the Center for Performance Assessment and the International Center for Educational Accountability. "We have done a splendid job of holding nine-year-olds accountable. Let me suggest as a moral principle that we dare not hold kids any more accountable than we expect to hold ourselves."

At a recent forum hosted by the Principal's Center at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Reeves outlined the principles of what he believes comprise effective school-based accountability systems. His remarks were edited for this issue:

Principle #1: Congruence

Objectives and strategies are sometimes developed in complete contravention to what the accountability system calls for. Accountability must be the unifying theme that draws strategy, rewards, recognition, and personnel evaluations together.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.


Also by this Author

    For Further Information

    For Further Information

    D.B. Reeves. Accountability In Action: A Blueprint for Learning Organizations. Denver: Advanced Learning Press, 2000.

    D.B. Reeves. Making Standards Work: How to Implement Standards-Based Assessments in the Classroom, School, and District. Denver: Advanced Learning Press, 1997.

    Center for Performance Assessment, 1660 South Albion St., Suite 1110, Denver, CO 80222; 800-844-6599; 303-504-9312 (local); fax: 303-504-9417; email: