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Accountability Requirements and Professional Development in the US Adult Basic and Literacy Education System
Literacy & Numeracy Studies (2009)
  • Cristine A. Smith, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Even before the 2001 enactment of the No Child Left Behind
legislation, the education bill that holds schools in the US accountable for
student achievement, ‘adult education [had] become part and parcel of the
new federal trend to encourage the setting of national education goals and
standards and holding programs accountable for demonstrating
achievements’ (Sticht 1998). Now, almost ten years after enacting the
Workforce Investment Act (1998), the legislation that required states to
report how adult students were making progress towards educational and
work goals, the field is just beginning to take stock of whether accountability
has helped or hurt our adult education system.
In the US school system (kindergarten to 12th grade for children five to
18), several researchers have investigated the effect of stronger accountability
requirements on professional development systems. Berry et al. (2003), in a
study of 250 teachers and principals in schools across six Southeastern US
states found that results were mixed:
Although high-stakes accountability systems help focus
professional development efforts on the curricular needs of
students, little evidence exists to support the claim that such
systems help teachers change their practice to enhance student
learning...A tendency exists…to narrow the focus of professional
development activities to tested subjects or provide general
support that is disconnected from curricular needs. (Association
for Supervision and Curriculum Development 2004:3)
  • Education,
  • US Adult Basic and Literacy Education System,
  • Professional Development,
  • Accountability
Publication Date
Citation Information
Cristine A. Smith. "Accountability Requirements and Professional Development in the US Adult Basic and Literacy Education System" Literacy & Numeracy Studies Vol. 17 Iss. 3 (2009) p. 27 - 41
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