Extending Accountability: From compliance to learning

AJIT GOPALAKRISHNAN


Abstract

The mandates of the US National Reporting System (NRS)
accountability framework presented adult education at the state and local
levels with a quantitative, outcomes-based, mandatory system. In the early
years of the NRS, researchers explored the challenges of implementing largescale
accountability systems and documented its early impact. With the
continued implementation of the NRS over the past four to five years, this
paper takes a fresh look at the impact of those accountability requirements
with particular reference to implementation by the Connecticut State
Department of Education (CSDE). It presents some positive developments
with respect to curriculum, instruction, and the use of data, while highlighting
some of the shortcomings within the NRS approaches. It discusses the
organisational implications for local programs, presents strategies for state
agencies, and offers suggestions for improving the NRS.

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