Designing and validating an assessment inventory for online language teacher education accountability

January - March 2022

Source: Education and Information Technologies, volume 27, issue 2, pages 2483–2520

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The current study aims to give a comprehensive account of indicators of education accountability in e-learning.
To this end, this two-phase study was conducted on Iranian English as Foreign Language context by designing and validating a questionnaire built up from theoretical concepts obtained from literature and to the point interviews intends to bridge the gap.
Consequently, the validated questionnaire can assist administrators and language teacher systems to assess the function and practicality of their educational programs.
Additionally, by determining the indicators of accountability in online language teacher education, it is envisaged to empower the researchers, teacher education systems, educators and teachers to recognize the rigorous fundamental issues which lead ‘teacher education’ to perform well and be accountable.

The present research was carried out in two phases applying an exploratory sequential mixed method design.
Accordingly, to fulfill the desired goals for each phase different steps were taken within each aspect which all are presented in the upcoming sections.

Two groups participated in this study.
The first group consisted of 9 male and female distinguished EFL teacher educators and administrators who hold online EFL teacher training courses in three different language centers in Tehran, Iran.
122 participants participated in the second phase of the study.
The participants included 25 EFL educators holding either PhD or MA in English Teaching, English Translation or English literature and were teaching at different language training centers and universities.

Materials and instruments
In respect to the first section of the current study 4 different questions were used to collect the data through an interview and a five-Likert self-reported questionnaire including 79 items which was designed by the researcher was used for the purpose of data collection in the second part of the study.
The study was set out into two stages.
The first phase which was qualitative in nature was carried out through an interview with 9 participants.
Four research questions were conducted at this stage and to figure out the answers to these questions an open-ended interview in accordance with the supposed questions was hold.
The interviews were recorded, transcribed.
By appealing to NVivo software the transcriptions were coded and thematically organized.
To enhance the dependability of the processes of analysis, the recommended procedures by Creswell (2007, 2014) were followed.
The purpose of the study in the first stage was supposed to be qualitative in nature.
To obtain the required data the following research questions were introduced:
1. To what extent are EFL educators familiar with ‘accountability’ in teacher education?
2. What does accountability refer to in online language teacher education?
3. What factors would affect the accountability of online language teacher education?
4. To what extent can surveillance influence the accountability of online language teacher education?
Inspired by the results of the first phase, the researcher developed a five-Likert self-report questionnaire.
The questionnaire was revised and improved gradually by consulting a panel of experts and acquiring considerable information from the literature.
The final draft of questionnaire was checked by three scholars who all confirmed that the questionnaire had achieved construct validity.
122 participants incorporated in the second stage and filled the questionnaire.
Finally, by appealing to SPSS version 22 the collected data was analyzed.

Results and discussion
As is obvious from the sample studies mentioned in the literature review section, it is safe to claim that no study has been carried out to consider the online language teacher education accountability, since the online setting is the variable which hasn’t been studied.
Accordingly, this study designed and validated an assessment inventory including seven different dimensions to observe the missing setting.
The first component of the questionnaire, as ‘accountability to profession’, makes language teacher educations establish particular goal, standards, and coherent curriculum.
Moreover, being updated, integrating theory and practice, developing metacognition skills, and applying the rules of face-to face classes are considered the other responsibilities.
Fundamentally, the second component (i.e. accountability to society) requires language teacher educations to abolish the discrimination against teachers on the basis of race, gender, and religion.
It emphasized that teacher education must improve the quality of education align with social needs.
Similarly, Cochran-Smith et al., (2017) asserted that teacher education is responsible to keep up with the social changes and Lewis and Young (2013) claimed that teacher education accountability is a social political phenomenon.
‘Accountability to student teachers’ is the third component of this questionnaire.
It dedicates multiple responsibilities to language teacher education like providing an acceptable license, making progress in student teachers’ language proficiency and pedagogical knowledge, developing student teachers’ digital competence and so forth.
In the same vain, Plecki et al. (2012) believed that it was teacher education responsibility to prepare well the student teachers and provide the needed support for them.
The fourth component is ‘accountability to teacher educators.
Developing teacher educators’ ability to manage online teaching environment and assessing the teaching processes are the major responsibilities in this respect.
Language teacher educations are responsible to meet the educators’ financial and academic needs.
The other component pertains to responsibility to ‘learning outcome’ which particularly signifies that teacher education is responsible for student teachers’ demotivation and demoralization, hence, teacher education is responsible to figure out the reasons and to take the necessary actions to solve the problems.
The same assumptions were advocated by a study done by Plecki et al. (2012).
The sixth component refers to accountability to educational leadership.
In this regard, the principles of dominant educational leadership should be highlighted.
Additionally, the needs of educational leadership should be investigated and observed.
The last critical component in the questionnaire talks about accountability to ‘students.
Since language learners are the most benefited ones from teacher education practices, their achievements, values, interests, capabilities, and skills should be considered by language teacher education.
Teacher education is responsible to enhance learning opportunities and by ongoing assessment and evaluation of teaching and learning processes provide any necessary prerequisite for learners’ improvement.
Similarly, Cochran-Smith et al.(2017) demonstrated that teacher education is responsible for students’ learning and improving their democratic knowledge and skills.
Ultimately, relying on the achieved results, it is demonstrated that the remained items after factor analysis which received the highest percentage in comparison to other items in the same category, are considered as the indicators of accountability of online language teacher education in the current study setting.
Since the literature on accountability faces a dearth of significant study pointing directly at clarification of the elements of accountability in on line teacher education, the present study is carried out to design a validated instrument and provide valuable insights which could answers all deficiencies in this regard.

The current study makes an effort to develop a questionnaire consisting of 79 items across seven constructs namely accountability to teaching profession, teacher educators, society, student teachers, learning outcomes, educational leadership, and students which were scored on a five-Likert scale ranging from 1 to 5 indicating the degree the statement was considered true for online language teacher education.
Language teacher education development is a cyclical process which embraces teacher training improvement and teacher development and is affected by social facts and particular settings like e-learning.
It is expected that the developed questionnaire assists firstly, the online language teacher education by providing the insights of the responsibilities they should take.
Secondly, since critical thinking and self-evaluation are advocated in teacher education, this self- reported questionnaire can help administrators and teacher educators to assess the systems and resolve the problems and improve the quality of systems.
More importantly, although we are living in post method digital area, teacher education programs are not aware of their major responsibilities of providing all necessities and prerequisites for online courses.
Therefore, it is hoped that this study clarifies the needed concepts and required domains that should be concerned.

Cochran-Smith, M., Baker, M., Burton, S., Chang, W. C., Carney, M. C., Fernández, M. B., Keefe, E. S., Miller, A. F., & Sánchez, J. G. (2017). The accountability era in US teacher education: Looking back, looking forward. European Journal of Teacher Education, 40(5), 572–588.
Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design (2nd ed). Sage.
Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research Design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed). Sage.
Lewis, W. D., & Young, T. V. (2013). The Politics of Accountability: Teacher Education Policy. Educational Policy, 27(2), 190–216.
Plecki, M., Elfers, A. M., & Nakamura, Y. (2012). Using Evidence for Teacher Education Program Improvement and Accountability: An Illustrative Case of the Role of Value-Added Measures. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(5), 318–334. 

Updated: Jul. 11, 2022