Building Internal Capacity To Support An Effective Response To External Accountability

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Building Internal Capacity To Support An Effective Response To External Accountability[1]

Richard Elmore, in his Principal Congress 2010 keynote address “Theories of Action: Pathway to Instructional Improvement”, comments extensively about the growth of accountability in education reform and the relationship of internal capacity and external accountability.  He describes  pre-conditions for the internal capacity needed to for the education organization to respond in predictable (and hopefully “effective”) ways to the kinds of measurement external accountability demands:[2]

  1. Strong leadership
  2. Collaborative organizational structures – in which people have opportunities to talk to each other about the work
  3. Knowledge and expertise about what good instruction looks like
  4. Guaranteed and viable curriculum support that is aligned with standards and district direction
  5.  Strong, effective interaction between the teacher, students, and the content, in each classroom (which Elmore identifies as the instructional core and asserts that focus on this instructional core grounds performance-driven school improvement in learning and its outcomes.)
  6. Internal and external professional development aligned to fill gaps in 1-5.

As you think about your educational organization, your own classroom, are there areas of strength and areas in need of improvement to increase internal capacity and enhance outcomes in response to external accountability?  Comments?

[1] Elmore, Richard, “Leading the Instructional Core”, interview for In Conversation, Ontario Ministry of Education, 10/29/10.

[2] Adapted to include information from other education research by Benchmark One.

Miss. Districts Pilot Merit Pay for Educators

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Seven Mississippi school districts are participating in a pilot of a teacher merit-pay program funded by a $10 million federal grant. Gov. Phil Bryant in July expressed his support for bonuses for high-performing teachers. A Mississippi State University report has suggested eliminating annual step pay increases for teachers and shifting to pay raises based on merit.

The Hattiesburg American (Miss.) (9/11)

ASCD SmartBrief.

Many of Life’s Failures

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“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they give up.”

Thomas Edison, American Inventor

The Nature of Collaborative Work

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The Nature of Collaborative Work

In his unpublished paper, Learning is the Work (May 2011), Michael Fullan cites several elements that he believes inform each other as basic to building effective instructional practice in the classroom linked to student achievement.  He calls this cross fertilization of elements of collaborative work the instruction-achievement nexus.  The elements include:

  1. Focus: i.e., personalization related to the individual needs of students.
  2. Teachers learn best from other teachers provided they are also working on improvement and their exchanges are purposeful and based on evidence.
  3. Supportive leaders are essential and most effective when administrators i.e., the principal, participates as a learning in working with teachers to make improvements.
  4. Cross school learning from each other is a 4th element. Fullan suggests small clusters of schools (3-8 schools for example) working together to learn and solve problems and share solutions together.
  5. Finally, there needs to be vertical support across levels throughout all stakeholder groups i.e., schools, communities, districts, etc.

For the entire article, access it at