Who Watches the Watchers? An Exploration of Policy and Research on Accountability and Student Success

Ruff, Ryan Richard, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Heinecke, Walter, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Thomas, Antoinette, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Berry, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Butler, Alfred, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The world of educational policy is governed by multiple interpretations, abstractions, and processes that have considerable intended and unintended consequences for beneficiaries. A result of the American political system, state-level educational policy often varies from context to context. These variations can translate into different educational experiences for students, teachers, and other professionals in schools. This three-manuscript dissertation attempts to highlight the impacts of accountability policy variation across interdisciplinary fields, beginning with an analysis of the development and implementation of state-level accountability policy. The impacts of life in an accountable world are then investigated, framed within the professional experiences of school counselors and school psychologists. Results indicate that state political culture, history, and traditional policy experiences heavily shape modern educational policy. Furthermore, the job experiences of those responsible for student socio-emotional and psychological development are often under assault by the continued permeation of high-stakes accountability reform. Taken as a whole, the research emphasizes a need for policy to consider a variety of educational contexts in its design.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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