28 SES 13 B JS, Globalizing Test-Based Accountabilities in Education: Policy transfer and re-contextualization dynamics Part 2: Perspectives from Europe
Joint Symposium NW 23 and NW 28 contined from 28 SES 12 C JS
Accountability has gained a great deal of centrality in the global education policy arena. The form of accountability that is currently spreading more intensively in education focuses on student performance assessed through large-scale standardized evaluations, and involves some level of consequences for teachers, principals and/or schools. This form of accountability, which is usually known as test-based accountability (TBA), is actively promoted by the most relevant international organizations in the education policy field, such as the OECD and the World Bank.
Currently, most education systems in the world are adopting accountability policies that rely on sophisticated evaluation technologies and are oriented toward making schools more responsive and oriented to the delivery of better academic outcomes. As part of the global trend of TBA, school-level educational actors, including teachers and principals, are expected to be more open and responsive to external judgment about their work and results. External evaluations are becoming increasingly relevant in framing educational policies at the national level, and in configuring instructional and organizational strategies at the school level (Lingard, Martino, and Rezai-Rashti, 2013).
The constitution of TBA as a global model of education reform is striking for two main reasons. First, counter-intuitively, countries from different regions of the world and with very different administrative traditions and levels of economic development are embracing TBA as a way to monitor results and enhance their educational systems. And secondly, countries appear to be adopting TBA policies despite there being weak and inconclusive evidence on the benefits produced by these policies. Empirical research in this area has reached very different and even contradictory conclusions on the effects of TBA policies on improving instruction and student learning outcomes and preventing education inequalities. Furthermore, according to how accountability systems are designed and enacted they might generate unexpected results and even undesired behaviours at the school level. In fact, the very much reported side-effects of high-stakes accountability measures under the No-Child Left Behind Federal Law in the US (see for instance Au, 2007) has not prevented TBA reforms from continue globalising.
Faced with this reality, this two-panel series analyse the dynamics through which TBA has been internationally disseminated and adopted in multiple educational settings. Some of the general questions these two panels aim to address are:
1- What are the analytical frameworks that are more appropriate to understand the global adoption of accountability reforms (multiple-streams, neoinstitutionalism, epistemic communities, cultural political economy)?
2- Do accountability reforms represent a disruptive/drastic transformation within educational institutions, or do they rather follow an incremental pattern of policy change? Are these reforms, with the passage of time, evolving from soft to hard forms of accountability (or, in other words, from low-stakes to high-stakes accountability)?
3- What are the main rationales for adopting TBA at the country level? Is it possible to identify a coherent programme ontology (or theory of change) behind TBA systems?
4- What are the actors that are more active in the dissemination and adoption of TBA in different country settings? How do domestic politics, and related dynamics of negotiation and resistance, interfere in the final retention of TBA policies at the country level?
This panel is part of a two-part symposium. The papers included in this second panel of the series will address the questions above by analysing the spread of TBA reforms in the European context.
Au, W. (2007). High-stakes testing and curricular control: A qualitative metasynthesis. Educational Researcher, 36(5), 258-267. Lingard, B, Martino, W, & Rezai-Rashti, G. (2013). Testing regimes, accountabilities and education policy: Commensurate global and national developments. Journal of Education Policy, 28(5), 539-556.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
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