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Q. Accountability

1. Defining Accountability

a) Accountability is the process through which individuals, organizations, and governments take responsibility for their actions, report on these actions to those who are entitled to the information, and work to improve their performance.

b) Educational accountability is the responsibility shared by all those involved in public education to provide evidence of the performance of their educational roles and duties in support of the growth and development of students.

2. Accountability as Shared Responsibility

a) All partners in the education community share responsibility and are accountable for those factors over which they have control and/or jurisdiction.

b) Clear definitions of the respective roles and responsibilities developed, understood and accepted by the various partners are fundamental to any accountability framework.

i) The provincial government and school boards are responsible for funding all aspects of the KinderStart preschool program and K-12 education and for providing educational programs on an equitable basis to all students in accordance with the goals of education. [Nov/27/08] [JC Feb/09] [2009 BGM]

ii) School boards are responsible for managing funds to provide resources and programs to meet the needs of all students in the system and to provide resources for ongoing professional learning of teachers.

iii) Teachers and administrators have a primary responsibility for the provision of effective learning in school environments.

iv) Parents have a primary responsibility for the provision of home environments that support learning.

v) Students have a responsibility to be actively engaged in learning.

c) While the educational partners are accountable for their specific roles and responsibilities, they also have a responsibility for working collaboratively.

d) Each partner has the right and a responsibility to speak out on issues and on concerns relating to accountability.

e) Our educational system is accountable for the attainment of established educational goals within the limitations resulting from such factors as resource allocation, home and societal influences, and the abilities of learners.

3. Professional Accountability

a) As professionals dedicated to ensuring that all students are provided with a high-quality education, teachers are committed to being accountable for their professional practice.

b) In this shared accountability model, and providing all other partners meet their commitments to accountability, teachers are responsible for:

i) possessing a widely-shared, continuously-updated subject and pedagogical knowledge base;

ii) using that knowledge to make decisions which will enhance student learning;

iii) working collaboratively with other professionals to make decisions in the interests of students;

iv) describing and explaining their decisions about student learning to students, parents, and the community; and

v) engaging in self-directed ongoing professional learning to enhance their professional practice.

c) The NLTA is responsible for:

i) developing programs to assist teachers individually and collectively in pursuing their professional learning;

ii) establishing and promoting standards of professional practice; and

iii) establishing frameworks for teacher conduct and responding to related concerns.

4. Linking Accountability with the Vision and Goals of Public Education

a) Accountability must be driven by a vision of the role of public education in developing the potential of the individual and in promoting a strong sense of citizenship and democracy. As such, accountability measures must reflect the common goals of public education and the diverse nature of students, schools, and communities.

5. Focus on Student Learning

a) Accountability should be focused upon supporting and enhancing student learning which includes the entire range of learning outcomes.

b) Quality classroom-based assessment – in which teachers employ an array of methods over time, incorporating authentic forms of assessment aligned with curriculum – must be a central feature of educational accountability.

6. Accountability and Reporting

a) Parents have a right to clear, comprehensive, and timely information about their child’s progress.

b) The public has the right to information that shows how well the system is achieving its goals. This information should be contextual, broad in scope, and clearly communicated. Any instrument used should be used only for its intended purpose and in no case should become part of ranking or comparison of students, teachers, or schools.

c) Accountability policies and practices should balance transparency with the right to privacy.

d) An accountability model should endeavour to foster trust in the system and in those who work within the system. It should also foster active public support for and engagement in public education. [Feb/6/04] [JC Feb/04] [2005 BGM]