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Securing Accountability: Internal and External.

 Securing Accountability: Internal and External.


  1. Internal Accountability:
    • Focus: Internal accountability primarily focuses on individuals, groups, and organizations’ efforts to continually improve and succeed in achieving their goals. It is an intrinsic form of accountability driven by the commitment to excellence and continuous self-assessment.
    • Responsibility: Internal accountability places the responsibility for improvement and success on the educators, administrators, and staff within the teacher preparation program.
    • Measurement: Success is measured through internal mechanisms, such as self-assessment, peer evaluation, and the program’s alignment with its own objectives and standards.
    • Role in Whole Systems Change: Internal accountability is essential in fostering a culture of continuous improvement within the organization, which is a foundational element of whole systems change. It ensures that stakeholders within the program are committed to enhancing their practices and outcomes.
  2. External Accountability:
    • Focus: External accountability, on the other hand, emphasizes the responsibility of educational leaders and institutions to be transparent and accountable to external stakeholders, such as the public, regulatory bodies, and policymakers.
    • Responsibility: External accountability places the responsibility on leaders and institutions to demonstrate compliance with external standards, regulations, and expectations.
    • Measurement: Success is measured by external assessments, audits, and evaluations conducted by external agencies or organizations.
    • Role in Whole Systems Change: External accountability is critical for providing transparency and assuring the public that educational institutions are meeting their obligations. It can drive systemic change by holding institutions accountable for their performance.

In the case scenario provided, where a database system is being implemented to track IEP goals and objectives for special education students, here’s how I would secure accountability:

Internal Accountability:

  • Encourage a culture of data-driven decision-making and accountability within the special education staff.
  • Provide ongoing professional development and training to ensure that staff can effectively use the new database system.
  • Foster a collaborative environment where teachers and support staff regularly review and discuss student progress data.
  • Implement a system for peer reviews and self-assessment to ensure that teachers are meeting their responsibilities in tracking and addressing student goals.

External Accountability:

  • Establish clear communication channels with external stakeholders, such as parents, to ensure transparency in the tracking of student progress.
  • Conduct regular external audits or reviews of the database system to verify its accuracy and effectiveness.
  • Align the program with state and federal regulations and standards to demonstrate compliance.
  • Develop reports and summaries of student progress data to share with external agencies and policymakers to show the program’s commitment to external accountability.

In summary, securing both internal and external accountability is essential for the successful implementation of the database system and, more broadly, for improving special education services. These forms of accountability can work together to ensure that students’ needs are met, progress is monitored, and the program aligns with external expectations while fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

 Securing Accountability: Internal and External.






The push toward accountability seen throughout the P-12 educational settings is now evidenced within teacher preparation programs, ensuring that universities and colleges are adequately preparing future teachers for the task. Such pressures are even more rampant within the field of special education. Special education teachers are tasked with the responsibility of not only ensuring students, individual needs are being met with meaningful curriculum and instruction, but that they are making adequate progress toward their goals and objectives. Student learning rests at the core of accountability within educational systems (Fullan & Quinn, 2016). While internal accountability focuses on individuals’ and groups’ efforts at continuous improvement and success for all students, external accountability focuses on leaders’ responsibility to be transparent with the public about the system’s ability to meet expectations and requirements. Both internal and external accountability are integral to the Coherence Framework, strengthening the vision and collaboration of the organization, thus establishing deepening of learning goals. For this Discussion, you will analyze both internal and external accountability and their role in whole systems change. As the special education leader, how will you secure accountability?

To Prepare:

How would you distinguish between internal and external accountability?

·Reflect on the Norman and Sherwood (2015) article, considering how internal and external accountability measures have shaped teacher preparation programs.

·Reflect on the plans you have created for the case scenario viewed in Modules 2 and 3 so far and reflect on how you would secure accountability if you were a leader of the staff in this scenario.

Post an explanation of how you would build internal accountability based on the case scenario. What steps would you recommend to ensure effective implementation of external accountability? Include an analysis of each concept and evidence from the case scenario, as well as other learning resources to support your rationale.

·Norman, P. J. & Sherwood, S. A. S. (2015).  Using internal and external evaluation to shape teacher preparation curriculum: A model for continuous program improvement Links to an external site..  New Educator, 11(1), 4-23. Doi: 10.1080/1547688X.2015.1001263

Case Scenario Module 2

FEMALE SPEAKER: Thank you all for meeting with me today. As you’ve heard, the federal government has mandated states to set up accountability systems for students who are on IEPs and IFSPs to ensure they’re making progress.

FEMALE SPEAKER: This came up at the state special ed directors meeting, so we all knew this was coming. This will include all of our children in our birth through three programs, our preschool programs, as well as our K through 12 students in special education.

FEMALE SPEAKER: That’s right. This is going to be a big change for our staff, especially our early childhood special education staff, since Part C and Part B regulations always seem to be changing.

MALE SPEAKER: Oh, great. Our early childhood special education staff are already overwhelmed with paperwork. Now what else do they have to do?

FEMALE SPEAKER: The states mandated that the districts set up a database to collect ongoing data about IEP goals and objectives, as well as IFSP outcomes for all children and students who receive special education or early intervention services. This system will monitor progress and keep special education professionals accountable for creating intervention plans for those students not making progress.

MALE SPEAKER: I don’t see how this is going to help.

FEMALE SPEAKER: It really is in the best interest of the students. I’m hopeful that this process will be helpful for the education teachers and not a hindrance.

MALE SPEAKER: I’m glad you can be positive but I doubt the staff will see it that way.

FEMALE SPEAKER: In any case, I’m asking you to work together to create a strategic plan for how you will deliver this news at our next staff development day. And plan a staff training session soon after so they can learn the new system.

FEMALE SPEAKER: We can handle it.

MALE SPEAKER: Yeah, we can put something together.

FEMALE SPEAKER: It’s important that this be presented in a positive way, with clear goals, so that we can make this change as smooth as possible.

Case Scenario Module 3

MALE SPEAKER: Welcome everyone. We have a lot of information to cover this morning, so let’s get started. I’ve invited special education director Carolina Reyes to join us this morningto help present the first topic.

CAROLINA REYES: Good morning everybody.

MALE SPEAKER: As many of you have heard, the state has mandated that each district put in place a database to collect ongoing data about IEP goals and objectives for every special education student.

CAROLINA REYES: To put this in perspective, this is coming down to states from the federal government. Recent research has shown that the students aren’t making adequate progress in special education. So the intent of this new system is to increase the skills of students with exceptionalities. This tracking system will be directly tied to student IEPs.

MALE SPEAKER: The special education case managers will be responsible for putting the data into the district database. But it’s really going to be a team effort for everyone who works with students with exceptionalities to monitor the data and implement interventions.

CAROLINA REYES: I can tell by some of the reactions on your faces that this may seem overwhelming. But I want you to know that I have already been through the training. And I can tell you this system is easy to navigate. I am confident that the data you receive will do great things for our students. And it will allow us to better rapport both data and progress to parents.

MALE SPEAKER: Principals have also had an orientation on the system. And I agree with Ms. Reyes. The system is set up to provide teachers with excellent data on any skills that any of the students are working on.

MALE SPEAKER: What all does the system do? Like, I’m afraid this is going to take a lot of my time.

CAROLINA REYES: In addition to collecting data and graphing it for teachers, the system has extensive lists of student goals ideas to help with IEP writing, and has a tool to find evidence-based interventions for when a student isn’t progressing as expected. It really is cool. I wish I had this system when I was teaching in the classroom.

MALE SPEAKER: The district has set up training sessions that will occur in the next couple of weeks. And there’s going to be a trained support person in every building to help navigate the new database system.

CAROLINA REYES: I have other locations to visit today, but we still have time for some questions.

FEMALE SPEAKER: I have a question. Will the special education case managers be given more time in their daily schedules to input all of this information?

MALE SPEAKER: You’ll need to build this time into your current schedules and prep times.

FEMALE SPEAKER: How can we possibly do that, given our current case loads and the amount of paperwork we’re already doing?

MALE SPEAKER: It has to have already been an expectation that special education staff keep data on student IEPs goals and objectives. The only difference is now we have a uniform system for everyone.

MALE SPEAKER: I’m just as concerned as Rebecca. I know I can speak for most of us when I’m saying that we’re already spending hours outside of our contracted time completing the paperwork we do now. All this paperwork is taking away from our students and time away from our families. MALE SPEAKER: I know this will take some time to adjust to. And I know that change can be difficult. I’m hoping that everyone will come to this with an open mind, and that you will move forward with a positive attitude.

MALE SPEAKER: Excuse me. Speaking from the general education side. I’m also concerned about the amount of time this is going to take. We track data from all the other curriculum. And now you want us to do this as well?

CAROLINA REYES: How your teams set up the data collection process and the needs

of individual students will determine how much tracking will be done by general education teachers.

MALE SPEAKER: In this building since we already have weekly teaming time. Those teams will simply add this to their weekly agenda.

MALE SPEAKER: Our weekly planning time is already consumed with discussions concerning our general education students, and their progress towards state testing. This is just ridiculous.

MALE SPEAKER: We have a great staff here. And we have always been able to pull together to work on any of the changes that we as educators are constantly facing. I feel confident that we can address all of your issues as they arise, and that collaboratively we can figure out ways to address those issues to make the process easier.

CAROLINA REYES: Again, I just want to reinforce that this system has several benefits and should make progresstracking easier. The bottom line is that this is for the benefit of our students. And that is why we are all here.

MALE SPEAKER: I’ll be working closely with Ms. Reyes. And I will be taking your input to the leadership as thing arise as we unfold the new system. I want to thank Ms. Reyes for being here today and to talking with us today. Now we have a lot more information to get through today. So I want to suggest that we take a break. Then we’ll come back and look at the other items on the agenda.

CAROLINA REYES: Thank you for having me, and have a great rest of the day.

Required Reading

Fullan, M., & Quinn, J. (2016). Coherence: The right drivers in action for schools, districts, and systems. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Chapter 4, “Deepening Learning” (pp. 77–108)

Chapter 5, “Securing Accountability” (pp. 109–126)

Fullan, M. (2015a). Leadership from the middle: A system strategy Download Leadership from the middle: A system strategyEducation Canada55(4), 22–26. Retrieved from http://www.cea-ace.ca/education-canada/article/lea…

Leadership from the Middle: A System Strategy by Fullan, M., in Education Canada, Winter 2015. Copyright 2015 by Canadian Education Association. Reprinted by permission of Canadian Education Association via the Copyright Clearance Center.

Norman, P. J. & Sherwood, S. A. S. (2015).  Using internal and external evaluation to shape teacher preparation curriculum: A model for continuous program improvement Links to an external site..  New Educator, 11(1), 4-23. Doi: 10.1080/1547688X.2015.1001263

Leko, M.M., Brownell, M.T., Sindelar, P.T., & Kiely, M.T. (2015). Envisioning the future of special education personnel preparation in a standards-based era Links to an external site.Exceptional Children, 82(1), 25-43. doi: 10.1177/0014402915598782

Rock, M.L., et al (2016). 21st century change drivers: Considerations for constructive transformative models of special education teacher development Links to an external site.The Journal of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children, 39(2), 98-120. doi: 10.1177/0888406416640634


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