Accountability, Assessment, and Teacher Commitment

Lessons from Kentucky's Reform Efforts

Edited by Betty Lou Whitford & Ken Jones

Subjects: Educational Assessment And Evaluation
Series: SUNY series, Restructuring and School Change
Paperback : 9780791444108, 267 pages, January 2000
Hardcover : 9780791444092, 267 pages, January 2000

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Table of contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

Patricia A. Wasley


Betty Lou Whitford and Ken Jones

Part I. Overview

1. Kentucky Lesson: How High Stakes School Accountability Undermines a Performance-Based Curriculum Vision
Betty Lou Whitford and Ken Jones

Part II. Inside Schools and Classrooms

2. Constructs from the Classroom: A Perspective on Reform
Terry I. Brooks

3. A Multi-Age/Mult-Ability Primary Classroom in Action
Christy D. McGee

4. "The More Mathematics You Know, the Better Your Life Is Going to Be"
Ken Jones and Betty Lou Whitford

5. Teacher Community and Commitment: A Case Study of a High School Social Studies Department
Letitia Hochstrasser Fickel

6. The Tortuous Journey toward School Reform: A Middle School's Efforts within the Context of a State-Mandated, High-Stakes Accountability System
Jan Calvert, Donna Gaus, and Gordon Ruscoe

7. Teacher Responses to Rewards and Sactions: Effects of and Reactions to Kentucky's High-Stakes Accountability Program
Patricia J. Kannapel, Pamelia Coe, Lola Aagaard, Beverly D. Moore, and Cynthia A. Reeves

Part III. Alternative Approaches to Accountability

8. A Teacher Appraisal Invention Process: Developing Commitment to Accountability
Linda Shelor

9. The View from Maine: Developing Learner-Centered Accountability in a Local Control State
David Ruf, Debra Smith, and Lynne Miller

10. A New Look at School Accountability
Anne Wheelock

Part IV. Reactions

11. State and School Level Accountability Dilemmas
Jon Snyder

12. Success Needs Time to Grow
A. Richardson Love Jr.

13.The Need to Broaden Accountability in Order to Foster Leadership
Marilyn Hohmann

14. Reaching All Students: The Real Challenge of Reform
Dick Corbett

Part V. Summary and Conclusions

15. The Next Generation of School Accountability
Ken Jones and Betty Lou Whitford

About the Authors

Name Index

Subject Index

This book provides the basis for thoughtful reflection and discussion of school accountability by critically examining Kentucky's groundbreaking educational reform strategy of statewide student assessment and teacher accountability.


Accountability, Assessment, and Teacher Commitment offers a vantage point to draw lessons from, and ponder alternatives to, the Kentucky Education Reform Act (KERA), a state school reform effort based on a system of statewide student assessment and high-stakes accountability for teachers. It documents classroom realities and probes the consequences of this type of reform through case studies, comparisons to alternative models, and thought-provoking responses from national experts.

Contributors include Lola Aagaard; Terry I. Brooks; Jan Calvert; Pamelia Coe; Dick Corbett; Letitia Hichstrasser Fickel; Donna Gaus; Marilyn Hohmann; Ken Jones; Patricia J. Kannapel; A. Richardson Love Jr.; Christy D. McGee; Lynne Miller; Beverly D. Moore; Cynthia A. Reeves; David Ruff; Gordon Ruscoe; Linda Shelor; Debra Smith; John Snyder; Patricia A. Wasley; Anne Wheelock; and Betty Lou Whitford.

Betty Lou Whitford is Professor of Education and Director of the National Center for Restructuring Education, Schools, and Teaching at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is the coauthor, with Gordon Ruscoe and Letitia Fickel, of Knitting It All Together: Collaborative Teacher Education in Southern Maine. Ken Jones is Mathematics Specialist at Gheens Academy/Jefferson County Public Schools, Louisville.


"A rich examination of the impact of restructuring policy on the day-to-day lives of teachers and students in schools, this book deepens the understanding of the complexity of reform—especially the role of assessment and the desire for accountability—in a manner that is respectful of public goals and insightful about educational practice." — Gretchen Guiton, University of Southern California

"…very compelling reading about Kentucky's failure to realize the vision of reform it set out to achieve. I was immediately hooked and fascinated to learn about the hopes of these educators, the distortions that ensued from the high-stakes consequences, and the personal stories that make these issues come alive." — Elizabeth Larkin, University of South Florida