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Local Accountability Systems: Addressing Perkins Mandates for Special Populations (MDS-748)

C. Maddy-Bernstein, E. Cunanan, E. Mikulin

The Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act of 1990 requires states to design and implement accountability systems that include a core of performance measures and standards for vocational education programs at the secondary and postsecondary levels. The Perkins Act also calls for the provision of quality vocational-technical education programs for all students, especially members of special populations. While states are accountable for developing and monitoring the performance measures and standards, local recipients of Perkins dollars must implement the accountability system. This document is designed to help local and state educators improve their accountability systems and develop program improvement plans where called for.

This handbook is organized into three parts. Part I focuses on (1) measuring the success of programs serving students who are members of special populations and (2) improving programs that do not meet the established standards. It offers guidelines on how to enact a single, comprehensive accountability system that satisfies the requirements in Sections 115, 117, and 118 of the Perkins Act. Part I also contains a discussion of incentives or adjustments within accountability systems that are designed to encourage service to targeted groups or students with special needs. In addition, Part I provides examples of how a secondary and postsecondary accountability system are implemented. It presents activities prescribed under the Perkins Act for improving the education of all students including those from special populations.

Part II provides examples of performance measures and standards that were adapted from selected states' accountability systems. Other measures and standards can be developed based on these examples. Part III presents definitions of relevant terms taken from the Perkins Act Final Regulations and suggested operational definitions gleaned from some statewide accountability systems. Selected sections from the Glendale Union High School District and Minnesota's State Board of Technical Colleges Accountability Systems are included as appendices.

The implementation of an accountability system is intended to be an ongoing process of system development and improvement to better serve the nation's diverse student populations. It is vital that vocational educators meet the challenge of developing comprehensive accountability systems, use them to identify program strengths and areas where improvement is needed, and then implement good improvement plans.

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