College of Education > News and Publications > News: April - June 2012 > Special Journal Issue Focuses on Accountability in Education

Special Journal Issue Focuses on Accountability in Education

As the lead editor of the Journal of Teacher Education, Stephanie Knight, professor of education at Penn State, has helped to organize a special issue of the journal that focuses on examining the complexity of assessment and accountability in teacher education.

by Sara LaJeunesse (April 2012)

Stephanie KnightUNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- These days, the idea of accountability permeates conversations about education at every level, including teacher education and professional development. Yet the term “accountability” rarely is articulated clearly. For example, many accountability measures are too narrow in scope; they include meeting state certification requirements and assessing the achievement scores of program graduates, as measured by standardized tests. But in these cases, who is to be held accountable? And for what? And by whom?

As the lead editor of the Journal of Teacher Education, Stephanie Knight, professor of education at Penn State, has helped to organize a special issue of the journal that focuses on examining the complexity of assessment and accountability in teacher education. The special issue, Volume 63(5), will be available online in November/December 2012.

“For this issue, we invited empirical or conceptual manuscripts addressing accountability in teacher education that will move the community forward in considering accountability both more precisely and with greater complexity,” said Knight.

For example, she said, the papers address questions such as: What empirically based accountability measures have been developed for teacher education settings? What makes particular types of evidence more powerful than others in determining accountability in teacher education? What ethical and political questions arise for policy makers, teacher-education programs, and teachers as we attempt to assess program and teacher candidate quality? What are the intended and unintended consequences of teacher-education accountability policies for different stakeholders, such as beginning teachers, mentor teachers, administrators, teacher educators, and higher-education institutions?

According to Knight, the Journal of Teacher Education is in a unique position to shape how teacher education and research in teacher education is viewed both within and outside the profession.

“The journal’s goal is to bring together the three dimensions of teacher education -- practice, policy, and research -- in challenging and productive ways,” she said. “The theme issue on accountability in teacher education is an example of our endeavors to bring empirical evidence into the conversations of diverse groups about teacher education accountability.”

Gwen Lloyd, professor of education; Fran Arbaugh, associate professor of education; Jackie Edmondson, associate dean of undergraduate education in the College of Education at Penn State; Jim Nolan, professor of education; Scott McDonald, associate professor of education; Anne Whitney, assistant professor of education; and Iris Striedieck, assistant professor of education, also are involved with the journal.