Reframing Accountability: A Preservice Program Wrestles With Mandated Reform

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2005

Publication Title

Journal of Teacher Education




This article describes one school of education’s efforts to navigate a state-level mandate requiring that candidates for teacher certification demonstrate “positive impact on student learning.” It explains ongoing efforts to make sense of the requirement, to measure its congruence with program philosophy, and to develop a response. The article reports on informal fact finding we did to determine how other institutions in our state were responding to the mandate, and it describes our attempts to demonstrate “positive impact” for accreditation purposes. In addition, the article raises dilemmas we face in the process. How do we negotiate conflicting definitions of impact and of student learning? What is adequate growth for diverse preservice teachers in terms of teaching for understanding? How do we position ourselves and our program in relation to powerful, controversial state demands?