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Introduction to School and District Leadership in an Era of Accountability: Chapter 1

Barnett, Bruce; Shoho, Alan R.; Bowers, Alex J.

Our fourth book in the International Research on School Leadership series focuses on school leadership in an era of high-stakes accountability. Fueled by sweeping federal education accountability reforms, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Race to the Top (RttT) in the United States and Australia’s Performance Measurement and Reporting Task Force, school systems around the world are being forced to increase academic standards, participate in high-stakes testing, and raise evaluation standards for teachers and principals. These results-driven reforms are intended to hold educators “accountable for student learning and accountable to the public” (Anderson, 2005, p.2). While policymakers and the public debate the merits of student achievement accountability measures, P-12 educational leaders do not have the luxury to wait for clear guidance and resources to improve their schools and operating systems. Instead, successful leaders must balance the need to create learning communities, manage the organizational climate, and encourage community involvement with the consequences testing has on teacher morale and public scrutiny. The chapters in this volume clearly indicate that school leaders attending to these potentially competing forces affects their problem-solving strategies, their ability to facilitate change, and encourage community involvement. 123 In soliciting manuscripts for this volume, we encouraged authors to explore successful leadership being practiced by building and district level leaders as external pressures to improve student achievement have increased. Our goal was to create an edited book that examines successful school and district leadership during the accountability era from multiple perspectives. Our call for manuscripts asked potential authors to consider these important questions: - How do educational leaders successfully manage the politics of accountability? - To what degree are innovation and creativity affected as accountability increases? - What are effective ways of maintaining staff morale and community involvement as the pressure to raise student achievement rises?- Why do some schools thrive during times of increasing accountability? - How has accountability shaped what schools and districts do to build leadership capacity, professional learning communities, and continuous improvement? - During the accountability era, how have school leadership practices changed? Have these changes led to improved student achievement? - How have school leaders used elements of accountability (e.g., transparency, testing, data disaggregation) to inform their practice? This first chapter in the book volume provides a brief overview of the theme of the book and then an introduction for each of the eleven chapters, with links to the full book.


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Introduction to School and District Leadership in an Era of Accountability
Information Age Publishing Inc.

More About This Work

Academic Units
Education Leadership
Published Here
October 20, 2014


This document is a pre-print of this manuscript, which was published in the Information Age Publishing (IAP) book series on International Research on School Leadership as the introductory first chapter for the book volume. Citation: Barnett, B. G., Shoho, A. R., & Bowers, A. J. (2013). Introduction to Volume 4 of the International Research on School Leadership Book Series. In B. G. Barnett, A. R. Shoho & A. J. Bowers (Eds.), School and district leadership in an era of accountability (pp. 1-12). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing Inc.