Planning for Higher Education Journal

Using External Accountability Mandates to Create Internal Change

Journal Cover
From Volume 33 Number 1 | September–November 2004
By Lisa A. Petrides, Sara I. McClelland, Thad R. Nodine

In light of a new state-mandated performance-based funding mechanism for community colleges in California, this article discusses how one district sought to implement new internal evaluation procedures to improve student outcomes in line with systemwide goals outlined in the performance-based funding. These efforts introduced an evaluative environment on campus that reinforced self-serving behaviors among individuals—not an uncommon reaction to perceived external threats to capability and competence. This research concludes that in a climate of external accountability and performance mandates, an institution’s ability to understand and mitigate the need for individuals to take on protective or defensive behaviors in response to external demands for accountability becomes increasingly important in helping the organization to substantially improve its ability to use data and information to bring about positive change.

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