Effective accountability systems support schools and districts in overcoming barriers and challenges to effective teaching and learning. By providing the data, capacity building, and support needed to identify strengths and challenges, these systems help schools make necessary and continuous improvements to ensure that all students receive a quality education. In an accountable system, students are engaged in meaningful learning, taught by competent and caring professionals, and supported by adequate resources to ensure that they have opportunities to thrive in school and graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective citizens and contributors to a democratic society.
Accountability systems should be driven by processes for continuous evaluation and improvement that lead to problem-solving and more productive practices. An ideal system should be:
- reciprocal and comprehensive, with each level of the system—school, district, state, and federal government—held accountable for its contributions to an effective system;
- focused on capacity building, including the knowledge, skills, and improvement processes needed to support high-quality education; and
- informed by multiple measures that illuminate what is working and what needs to be addressed and improved.