Pandora's Box

Accountability and Performance Standards in Vocational Education

by Paul T. Hill, James Harvey, Amy Praskac

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This report is the result of a study of accountability in vocational education, conducted by RAND for the National Center for Research in Education (NCRVE). The study had two goals: (1) to understand the intentions of the people who formulated and enacted the new requirements for vocational education performance standards and accountability continued in the Perkins Act; and (2) to understand how those requirements would affect state and local accountability processes in vocational education. The study focused on the "to whom" side of accountability, trying to determine who needed evidence about the performance of vocational education and how they would use that evidence. The project consisted of a set of interviews and case studies at the Federal, state, and local levels about performance information on vocational education: who needs it, what should it look like, and how will it be used. Case study states included Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, New York, Oklahoma, and Indiana. The message that emerged is that the main focus of accountability in vocational education is local, and that the Perkins Act requirements for new performance measures and standards are meant to strengthen local accountability, not to weaken it or to create new channels of reporting to the Federal government.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Report series. The report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 1993 that represented the principal publication documenting and transmitting RAND's major research findings and final research.

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