Public Agenda

Will It Be on the Test?

A Closer Look at How Leaders and Parents Think About Accountability in Public Schools

For the past 15 years, federal, state, and local officials have pursued a broad range of reforms to ensure that the nationís public school system is more accountable. They hope this culture of accountability can improve and restore trust and confidence in our nation's public schools.

Most parents, and most Americans more generally, applaud the goals of the education accountability movement and support some of what it has accomplished. Still, they also see it as profoundly incomplete.

"Will It Be on the Test?" summarizes research from Public Agenda and the Kettering Foundation and explores

  • where education leaders and parents see eye to eye on accountability
  • where they part company
  • whether it's possible to find common ground on these competing views
  • additional questions for further research

Research for "Will It Be on the Test" includes focus groups with parents and principals held in Washington, DC; Detroit; New Orleans; Westchester County, NY; Birmingham, AL; and Denver. We also reviewed the large storehouse of survey data on parents' and principals' views on public education and the writing and statements of leaders and reformers on accountability.

This report is an outgrowth of a 2011 Kettering Foundation/Public Agenda report that revealed a potentially corrosive gap between the way that leaders and the public define accountability. "Donít Count Us Out: How an Overreliance on Accountability Could Undermine the Publicís Confidence in Schools, Business, Government, and More" describes how contrasting visions of accountability can feed public distrust of institutions rather than reducing it.


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Will It Be On The Test?

A Closer Look at How Leaders and Parents Think About Accountability in the Public Schools

Media Type: PDF

New research from the Kettering Foundation and Public Agenda suggests that there are important differences between the way most leaders and most parents define and think about accountability in public education.

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