Taking Off! Sharing State-Level Accountability Strategies

Publication April 1999

We recognize that no one has all of the answers to the issues raised in this introduction. Most of the measurement issues related to the conflicting purposes of vocational education (school reform versus workforce development) and governance/system delivery (centralized versus decentralized) are quite complex. All states are working on parts of the system or systems. It is hoped that the parts eventually sum to a whole.

Earlier in this document we provided the NASBE’s ten action-oriented standards which are intended to guide the development of overall state accountability efforts. The case studies provided in this document describe promising practices or particular strategies within an accountability system that have operationalized some of the NASBE standards. The necessary components described in this report include the following areas:

  • Setting Standards
  • Assessment Systems
  • Curriculum Strategies
  • System Supports
  • Quality Assurance
  • Policy Linkages

Within these areas, states have worked hard to develop particular components to their system. It is hoped that this document provides a vehicle to share some of the lessons learned related to the varying strategies employed state to state. The sharing of practices across the states may be helpful to those willing to take the time to analyze and reflect on others’ efforts. In some cases, a strategy from another state could be adopted. In most cases, the lessons learned would need to be adapted to particular state conditions. At other times, the strategy may not be a viable option to either adopt or adapt. In these cases, learning from the challenges faced by others may help the reader see his or her own situation in a different light.

This document is an evolving publication aimed primarily at state administrators and state policymakers. We hope to collect additional strategies from states over time, and mail out periodic updates (see Resources section). The “answers” to complex accountability questions are years down the road. As states continue to experiment and take test flights, we will need to observe, question, and incorporate new ideas into our own practice. Hopefully, this document will offer one more tool to help state administrators fine-tune their flight plan under always changing conditions.

Rahn, M. L., & O’Driscoll, P. (1999, April). Taking off! Sharing state-level accountability strategies. Berkeley, CA: National Center for Research in Vocational Education.

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