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Standards, Accountability, and School Reform


by Linda Darling-Hammond 2004

The standards-based reform movement has led to increased emphasis on tests, coupled with rewards and sanctions, as the basis for "accountability" systems. These strategies have often had unintended consequences that undermine access to education for low-achieving students rather than enhancing it. This article argues that testing is information for an accountability system; it is not the system itself. More successful outcomes have been secured in states and districts, described here, that have focused on broader notions of accountability, including investments in teacher knowledge and skill, organization of schools to support teacher and student learning, and systems of assessment that drive curriculum reform and teaching improvements.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 106 Number 6, 2004, p. 1047-1085
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 11566, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 4:56:34 PM

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About the Author
  • Linda Darling-Hammond
    Stanford University
    E-mail Author
    LINDA DARLING-HAMMOND is Charles E. Ducommun Professor of Education at Stanford University. Her research, teaching, and policy interests are focused on teacher quality, school restructuring, and educational equity. Among her recent books is The Right to Learn, recipient of the 1998 Outstanding Book Award from the American Educational Research Association, and Teaching as the Learning Profession (with Gary Sykes), recipient of the 2000 Outstanding Book Award from the National Staff Development Council.
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