ERG SES C 05, Policies of Education
Equity and efficiency of education systems are major issues, central to reforms of all OECD education systems ( Hutmacher , Cochrane & Bottani , 2001). Consistent to this growing concern for educational equity and efficiency, accountability policies in education have known an international expansion since the last decades.
Such policies are developing around the world, based on a combination of several tools such as testing, standards, in order to assess the results of education systems meanwhile « contracts », « report card », guidance or monitoring tools are regulating the consequences and sanctions that could follow for schools and education professionals. According to the political rhetoric, these policies should ensure greater efficiency, enhance quality and improve equity of education systems.
Despite the increasing popularity of accountability policies in education, there is no real scientific consensus about the main intended or unintended effects of these policies on the results of education systems in terms of equity or efficacity (Mons, 2009 ; Carnoy & Loebb, 2002 ; Lee, 2008, 2011 ; Mons & Dupriez, 2011 ; Harris & Herrington, 2006). At the same time, some authors have emphasized that there were various kind of accountability policies accross national contexts (ie low and high stake policies) (for ex. Mons, 2009 ; Hanushek & Raymond, 2004) and that the effect of accountability policies vary according to the forms they take in several contexts.
My intention in this paper is to present and discuss a exploratory study, aiming to build original quantitative indicators of accountability in education systems based on the tools at the heart of these policies (performance and curiculum standards, large scale assessment, incentives, sanctions and rewards for educational actors, etc.) that are used at education systems level in Europe and Canada. These indicators enable me to characterise different forms of accountability that take place in education systems of my study.
Using the concepts of market-based accountability and governement-based accountability (Harris & Herrington, 2006), I distinguish education accountability forms according to the tools used for accountability purposes. One such form, market-based accountability refers to « policies that provide parents greater choice in the schools their children attend (…) The goals of these programs include providing a better match between student needs and school programs, allowing students to “escape failing schools,” and pressuring all schools to improve or else risk losing students and funding. » (Harris & Herrington, 2006, p. 221-222). Second, Government-based-accountability relates to « government efforts to measure the outcomes of students and schools, especially on the basis of student test scores, and to provide explicit rewards and punishments based on these measures (…)These efforts include incentives for students to increase their performance (e.g., promotion/graduation exams) and incentives for schools to improve [their results] (e.g., school report cards and associated sanctions). The student achievement score is the linchpin of this form of accountability » (ibid. p. 217)
DUPRIEZ, V. & DUMAY, X. (2005). L’égalité des chances à l’école : analyse d’un effet spécifique de la structure scolaire. Revue française de pédagogie, n° 150, janvier-février-mars 2005, 5-17. DURU-BELLAT, M. (2002). Les inégalités sociales à l’école. Genèse et mythes. Paris : Puff. CARNOY, M., & LOEB, S. (2002). Does external accountability affect student outcomes? A cross-state analysis. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 24(4), p. 305-331. CHIANG, H. (2009). "How accountability pressure on failing schools affects student achievement." Journal of Public Economics, 93(9-10), 1045-1057. HANUSHEK, E.A., & RAYMOND, M.E. (2004). Does accountability lead to improved student performance? Journal of policy analysis and management, 24(2), 297-327. HARRIS, D.N., & HERRINGTON, C.D. (2006). Accountability, Standards, and the growing achievement gap: lessons from the past half-century, American Journal of Education, 112, 209-238. HUTMACHER, W., COCHRANE, N. & BOTTANI, N. (Eds.). In poursuit of equity in education. Using international indicators to compare equity policies. Dordrecht/Boston/London : Kluwer Academic Publishers. JACOB, B. (2005). Accountability, incentives and behavior: the impact of high-stakes testing in the Chicago Public Schools. Public Schools Journal of Public Economics, 89, 761–796. LADD, H. F & LAUEN, F. (2010). Status versus Growth: The Distributional Effects of School Accountability. Policies Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 29(3), 426–450. LASCOUMES, P. & LE GALES, P. (dir.) (2004). Gouverner par les instruments. Paris: Les Presses de Sciences Po.
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