Bill MacKenty

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What does it mean to be accountable?

Posted in Educational Tech Leadership on 17 - January 2014 at 09:07 AM (10 years ago). 258 views.

One of our school themes this year is accountability. This is a good thing, in my opinion.
In my experience in education, accountability is a pejorative word but it needn't be. I imagine accountability to be ultimately about results. And here is a key point; results can be broad, nuanced, qualitative and still be valid, but they still need to demonstrate a student has learned.

When people ask me "how do you know technology works in education", I answer "ask the teacher who uses it". I trust teachers to know when technology tools work with student learning (but I verify).

When I think about accountability in the context of educational technology, I look at learning outcomes and learning artifacts related to a technology inspired lesson. As we in the ed-tech community know, many times students make spectacularly snazzy presentations and demonstrate ZERO knowledge on the learning standard. It's hurts me when I see this.

Accountability is about "show me the learning".

We are adopting Dr. James Stronge's TPES teacher evaluation system at our school. There are 6 standards, 5 inputs and 1 output. The 5 inputs are:

1. Instructional planning
2. Instructional delivery
3. Assessment of/for learning
4. Learning environment
5. Professionalism

And the 6th standard, related to output is:

6. Student progress

All of these standards are measurable, and when used thoughtfully, improve accountability to student learning.

I've included the wikipedia entry below about accountability because I like what it say about the relationship between accountability and accounting. What is the saying, "what matters is what you measure".

What do you think about accountability in educational technology?

In ethics and governance, accountability is answerability, blameworthiness, liability, and the expectation of account-giving. As an aspect of governance, it has been central to discussions related to problems in the public sector, nonprofit and private (corporate) worlds. In leadership roles, accountability is the acknowledgment and assumption of responsibility for actions, products, decisions, and policies including the administration, governance, and implementation within the scope of the role or employment position and encompassing the obligation to report, explain and be answerable for resulting consequences.

In governance, accountability has expanded beyond the basic definition of "being called to account for one's actions". It is frequently described as an account-giving relationship between individuals, e.g. "A is accountable to B when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct". Accountability cannot exist without proper accounting practices; in other words, an absence of accounting means an absence of accountability.

Link here