In the nineteen-nineties, I was principal of a middle school when the accountability issue burst into prominence in the state of Alabama in the form of norm-referenced testing as the main tool to evaluate school performance. Designed by well-meaning educators to meet the requirements of Alabama legislation, the accountability program in Alabama was developed to put some teeth into the curriculum. Schools and systems that performed poorly faced state takeover. The Alabama accountability issue was one face of a national movement predicated on the idea that the public schools in the United States have failed egregiously and that more stringent accountability standards will set expectations forcing teachers to do a better job teaching and students to do a better job learning (Houston, 2003). Schools and school systems across the United States were facing the same types of accountability standards and were being evaluated through student performance on standardized tests, criterion referenced tests, or a combination of the two.
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Hackett, P. (2004). Re-engineering Public Education: Developing New Technologies in Teaching and Assessment. Perspectives In Learning, 5 (1). Retrieved from http://csuepress.columbusstate.edu/pil/vol5/iss1/8