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Sunday, September 7, 2008

Internal Accountability and the Results Paradox

Is "at grade level" enough? Should we be satisfied with "at grade level" for all of our learners? I think we need to be careful not to have too narrow a focus. We need to keep the big picture in mind. In The Learning Leader Douglas B. Reeves warns us of the results paradox which states:

"The more myopic the focus on results, the lower the probability that the results will improve. An important corollary of this: A myopic focus on process rather than results yields neither improved results nor improved processes. Only a comprehensive focus... leads an organization to achieve an optimal, multifaceted view of both results and the antecedents of excellence."

To me internal accountability means that we must hold ourselves accountable to our students and their future. While holding ourselves accountable to having our students attain "at grade level" marks as measured by a standardized test may meet the requirements of being internally accountable, it does not attain the comprehensive focus that is necessary to achieve our true vision of 21st century learners.

What else are we missing?


  1. We are missing the individual child who may or may not fit in the box we have created. We need to find success by taking each child to his or her potential. That should be our goal even if it takes us out of the designated grade level definition. We are working way too hard at proficiency and often don't leave time for excellence! (We also need to be mindful of the child who has a gift that is not easily tested and therefore not included in standardized testing!)

  2. carnett,

    I agree that there are many individual students that our current proficiency based assessment system misses. After reflecting about your comment and reading the chapter on the dilemmas of grading in Douglas Reeves' book "The Learning Leader", I have written a new post at: