The Accountability Conundrum

Many states (including South Carolina, where I try my best to be a "responsible" college administrator) have some kind of state law mandating that public schools—and, in some cases, colleges--demonstrate that they are indeed "accountable." Typically, this means that institutions file reports that show the institution to be in compliance with certain standards as demonstrated by statistical assessments. (Remember that the art of statistics is the ability to draw a perfectly straight line from a faulty assumption to a fallacious conclusion.) Who could be opposed to "accountability," a term as revered as "Mom" and "apple pie"? The conundrum is in the details: Who is accountable to whom for what?

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