Local Accountability in Vocational Education
A Theoretical Model and Its Limitations in Practice
Recent policy initiatives have sought to improve vocational education through increased accountability. The purpose of this study was to analyze existing local accountability systems in vocational education. The authors interviewed program participants, staff, and employers in secondary and postsecondary vocational programs in five states to obtain a better understanding of the ways in which schools are accountable to their local constituents. The authors found widespread evidence of functioning local accountability systems. They modeled these systems in terms of four components: goals, measures, information feedback loops, and change mechanisms. The quality of these components and the relationships between them accounted for much of the variation in local accountability that was observed. Finally, the authors identified practical constraints that reduced the effectiveness of local accountability systems.