Development of Internal Accountability Begins with the Students

We have written a fair bit about the importance of moving away from a ‘top-down’ accountability mindset to one that is more focused on building internal accountability. It is our belief that where there is greater internal accountability, there will be less need for external accountability.

One of the difficulties with this is that many teachers have gone through their educational life continually exposed to and impacted upon by ‘top-down’ accountability, and so it can feel more natural to ‘pass on’ this mindset when teaching. This is the scenario we wish to avoid and what motivated us when we designed the Competency Rubric.

When we introduced the Competency Rubric to our students for the first time, they were hesitant about exposing their weaknesses and lack of knowledge to other students and having others see them as failures. We focused on FAIL being an acronym for ‘First Attempt In Learning’, and that it was ‘ok’ to ‘not know something’. It was more about what you did next.

We now use the rubric with students in Year 3-6 and over time their skill at using the rubric has been considerably refined. Towards the end of 2017, a few of our students were filmed articulating their understanding of the rubric and how it is used in class.

We believe that using a tool like the Competency Rubric will go a long way to helping our students not only deepen their metacognitive awareness but also their capacity to build greater internal (and collective) accountability because there is nowhere to hide, there is no stigma attached to not knowing, and if I need help I know who to go to. This attitude needs to become the norm for all learners. We owe it to every individual and every group of collaborative learners.


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