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Accountability for Equity?: Effects of External Control on Opportunities to Learn in K-12 Schools

Research Team

Name Name

Principal Investigator: Taeyeon Kim

Co-Principal Investigators: Jiangang Xia

Funding Information

Funding Agency: UNL Office of Graduate Studies—Maude Hammond Fling Faculty Research Fellowship

Award Date: Jan 1, 2021

End Date: Dec 31, 2021


Although federal, state and local controls are continually added to school-based accountability measures, research indicates external controls have mixed effects on student achievement, graduation rates and equity for learning. Despite vast investment in accountability controls for school education, there is little research that examines how controls at each level — state, district and school — affect student outcomes and equity in learning.

To ensure every student succeeds, it is necessary to know how accountability controls at multiple levels contribute to equitable learning in schools. This study is designed to analyze how external controls influence students’ opportunities to learn, and how internal controls within schools mediate the external control effects.

Using data from the National Teacher and Principal Survey, a nationally representative sample survey of K–12 schools in the United States, the project will use multilevel structural equation modeling.

The findings will provide timely and significant implications for policymakers and leaders in education to achieve equity in the current accountability system. 

Research & Evaluation Methods, Psychosocial Development & Social-Emotional Learning

An ongoing study is examining how internal school controls, such as guidelines implemented by a school’s principal, administrators and teachers, can mediate the impact of external controls from the federal, state and city level.
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