Study on Quality in an Age of Accountability

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In this era, it has become progressively clear that there is a growing, engrossment and need for technological literacy. This is a growing effort on the part of an ongoing ambition to design technology standards on a municipal level. The focal point is on students in every grade; kindergartner through twelfth should know and be able to do in order to accomplish technological literacy. A national group named The International Technology Education Association and its Technology for All Americans Project design and set forth the Standards for Technological Literacy: Content for the Study of Technology. These Standards were design to serve and identify with what every self- discipline literate student, kindergarten through high school, should know and be able to do in order to achieve technology literacy.

If educators are going to incorporate technology standards, it is important for staff development training to include strategies for ensuing that teachers are able to understand the complexity of the technology literacy. Educators need to be prepared to use technology for their professional growth and learning. Educators must be able to instruct the lives of their students and expand their students' knowledge, understanding and the use of technology. These skills are very important to educators when implementing technology base standards in the curriculum.

NCLB in Louisiana

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) has made a definite impact in the political and social realm of society. The largest component of the NCLB act is accountability.

Accountability is an exercise in hope. When we raise academic standards, children raise their academic sights. When children are regularly tested, teachers know where and how to improve. When parents know scores, parents are empowered to push for change. When accountability for our schools is real, the results for our children are real (U.S. Department of State, 2001).

The LEAP (Louisiana Educational Assessment Program) and the GEE (Graduation Exit Examination) are part of the CRT program (Louisiana's criterion-referenced testing). LEAP and GEE are Louisiana's high-stakes tests that measure how well a student has comprehend and mastered the state content standards. The LEAP is given to students in grades 4 and 8 and the GEE is administered to students in grades 10 and 11. The LEAP tests measure students in grades four through eight for adequate knowledge and skills in order to be promoted to the next grade. The GEE measure high school students sufficient of the content knowledge and exhibit the skills to be eligible for a high school diploma. The iLEAP is administered to students in grades 3,5,6,7, and 9. This test measure student knowledge, skills, and achievement according to the Louisiana content standards, and performances compared to the national norm.

Accountability

Instructors who take on the immense accountability of assuring an important education for all students can be operative only with the reinforcement and reassurance of the general public. State enforce requirements are a form of reassurance. That signifies to teachers that the general public advocates for educational amelioration for every child.

With the passage of No Child Left Behind accountability has become an issue to be addressed at all levels of education from the school board and school system down to the individual classroom and teacher. In order to have successful schools it is clear that we must have quality leadership in our schools and effective instructors in our classrooms. We must create a quality teaching force and to do this we must consider new ways of training our teachers, new approaches to accountability, new means for developing leadership, and ways to institute reward systems for teachers who have shown improvement and continued success in the classroom (FOCUS St. Louis, 2005).

Evaluating the Effectiveness of Instruction to National Standards

Educators, managers, and administrators are left with the daunting task of evaluating the effectiveness of instruction pertaining to students' achievement on national standards. National standards were developed for states to have a basic guideline to follow when designing their state content and standards.

Teachers know about and understand the goals, benefits, and uses of assessment. They know about and use systematic observations, documentation, and other effective assessment strategies in a responsible way, in partnership with families and other professionals, to positively influence children's development and learning (Assessments, 2000).

Administrators, teachers, and managers can evaluate these guidelines to insure that students comprehend national and state standards by designing specific articulated learning outcomes: comprehension, skills, and proficiency that students are required to demonstrate upon successful conclusion of an academic program. Offer classes, programs, and experiences that give purposeful opportunities for students to accomplish those learning outcomes. Evaluating student accomplishment of those learning outcomes, and using the outcomes of those evaluations to enhance instructing, comprehension, inform planning and appropriate revenue decisions.

When these guidelines are implemented successfully, national and state standards can enhance academic austerity, invigorate curricula, and stimulate student learning when standards are connected to state tests, especially those with high stakes significance. "Because student learning is a fundamental component of the mission of most institutions of higher education, the assessment of student learning is an essential component of the assessment of institutional effectiveness" (Assessing Student Learning and Institutional Effectiveness,2005).

Qualitative Measures

There are many ways to measure expected learning which include surveys of students or alumni, end-of-program and end-of course interviews, portfolio reviews and standardized tests. Within the organization that I am currently employed (eleven years with Sabine Parish School System) learning is measure through a series of high stakes test, portfolios, and standardized testing. The States Pre-school program (The program I currently work with) use assessments in the form of student portfolio.

According to Venn, "A student portfolio is a systematic collection of student work and related material that depicts a student's activities, accomplishments, and achievements in one or more school subjects. The collection should include evidence of student reflection and self-evaluation, guidelines for selecting the portfolio contents, and criteria for judging the quality of the work. The goal is to help students assemble portfolios that illustrate their talents, represent their writing capabilities, and tell their stories of school achievement (as cited in Valenzuela, 2002).

An important measurement of portfolio assessment is that it should allow involvement of the student in the process of assessment.

Finally, accountability have grown to be the most current watchword in education, with the ultimate aim of holding educational institutions, districts, teachers, and students responsible for results. In several states and school districts, law-makers are moving to reward accomplishment and penalize schools for failure, in an attempt to assure that students are receiving a quality education and tax dollars are not wasted. Accountability for students' efficiency is one of the most prominent issues that affect education across the nation.