Making educational accountability more democratic

Katherine E. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Educational accountability is a fundamental right of citizens in a democratic society serving the public interest. The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 holds states, school districts, public officials, educators, parents, and students accountable through auditable performance standards. At the same time, the lack of discussion about how to decide what educational outcomes should be typifies a climate of control. This article proposes making educational accountability more democratic by constructing democratic accountability within the context of a local school and/or district as a democratic conversation. The foundations of democratic accountability, the meaning of democratic accountability, and how its meaning is constructed (including accountability for what and to whom and how it is implemented) are outlined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)532-543
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Evaluation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Accountability
  • Audit culture
  • Educational evaluation
  • Performance indicators

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Strategy and Management


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