Accountability policies and teacher decision making: Barriers to the use of data to improve practice. Underlying many accountability policies is the assumption that standardized test data and other common sources of data will be used to make decisions that will result in changes to instructional practices. This study examines longitudinal from nine high schools nominated as leading practitioners of Continuous Improvement (CI) practices. The researchers compared continuous improvement best practices to teachers actual use of data in making decisions. The study found teachers to be receptive, but also found that significant obstacles were interfering with the effective use of data that resulted in changes in instruction. The analysis showed cultural values and practices inconsistent with accountability policies and continuous improvement practices impede implementation. The researchers identify barriers to use of testing and other data that help to account for the less than successful results. Given the current understanding of the importance on implementation science in the effective application of any new practice, these findings are not a surprise. As our colleague, Ronnie Detrich, is quoted as saying, “Implementation is where great ideas go to die”.
Citation: Ingram, D., Louis, K. S., & Schroeder, R. G. (2004). Accountability policies and teacher decision making: Barriers to the use of data to improve practice. Teachers College Record, 106(6), 1258-1287.