Center for Elementary Mathematics and Science Education (CEMSE)
1225 E. 60th Street (Mott Building), Room 326
Associate Professor, Quantitative and Evaluative Research Methodologies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The goal of all educational evaluation is to enable programs and policies to improve student learning. At the same time, notions of educational accountability, control, and improvement are often entangled with evaluation (Nevo, 2002; Ryan, 2005). This presentation reports findings from a three year mixed-methods (survey questionnaire and focus groups) evaluation examining state-level NCLB educational accountability consequences from teacher and principal perspectives. In addition to corroborating well-known unintended consequences (e.g., increased test preparation), other findings are presented. These include, for example, that teachers' understanding of and experiences with “good teaching” and “quality learning” within the top-down accountability policy context are mediated by local organizational and relational opportunities and constraints. Based on these findings and other research, I propose an extended educational accountability model that incorporates school-based evaluation may be able to better support instructional practices and school improvement efforts.
Katherine Ryan’s research interests focus on educational evaluation and the intersection of educational accountability issues and high stakes assessment. As educational accountability has become increasingly more important nationally and globally, her work has examined both evaluative capacity building and monitoring issues involved in test-based educational accountability. Her current research includes an investigation of the intended and unintended consequences of a state-wide assessment and accountability system in relationship to students, instruction, and educational outcomes.