Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 1997 Issue »

    Accountability and School Performance

    Implications from Restructuring Schools

    Fred M. Newmann, M. Bruce King, Mark Rigdon
    Many politicians and policymakers today link school accountability and school performance. Drawing on evidence from the corporate world, they assume that strong external accountability will impel schools to improve student achievement. In this article, however, Fred Newmann, M. Bruce King, and Mark Rigdon argue that three issues keep this popular theory from working in practice: 1) implementation controversies around standards, incentives,and constituencies; b) insufficient efforts to organize the human, technical, and social resources of a school into an effective collective enterprise - what the authors term "organizational capacity" - and c) failure to recognize the importance of internal school accountability. In a study of twenty-four restructuring schools, the authors found that strong accountability was rare; that organizational capacity was not related to accountability; that schools with strong external accountability tended to have low organizational capacity; and that strong internal accountability tended to reinforce a school's organizational capacity. Although the implications of this study for both accountability policy and, more broadly, school restructuring efforts may appear disconcerting, the authors conclude with several practical guidelines to stimulate the kind of internal accountability that they found to be related to enhanced school performance.

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    Spring 1997 Issue


    A Social Capital Framework for Understanding the Socialization
    Ricardo D. Stanton-Salazar
    Accountability and School Performance
    Implications from Restructuring Schools
    Fred M. Newmann, M. Bruce King, Mark Rigdon
    What's the Use of Theory?
    Gary Thomas
    Cognition, Complexity, and Teacher Education
    Brent Davis, Dennis J. Sumara
    Sex and the Teacher
    Should We Come Out in Class?
    Didi Khayatt

    Book Notes

    Growing Up African American in Catholic Schools
    Edited by Jacqueline Jordan Irvine and Michèle Foster

    The Jobless Future
    By Stanley Aronowitz and William DiFazio

    Learning as a Way of Being
    By Peter B. Vaill

    The Other Angels
    By Patricia L. Walsh

    Reversing Underachievement Among Gifted Black Students
    By Donna Y. Ford

    The Timetables of Women's History
    By Karen Greenspan

    Migrancy, Culture, Identity
    By Iain Chambers

    Pushing Boundaries
    By Olga A. Vasquez, Lucinda Pease-Alvarez, and Sheila M. Shannon

    Focus Group Interviews in Education and Psychology
    By Sharon Vaughn, Jeanne Shay, and Jane Sinagub

    The New Second Generation
    Edited by Alejandro Portes

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