23 SES 14 B, Accountability Policies’ Enactments : Comparative perspectives - Mediations Part 2
Symposium continued from 23 SES 12 B
The symposium aims to address the enactments (Ball & al. 2011) of the so-called “performance-based accountability policies” (PBAP). These policiescombine the establishment of curriculum standards, external tests, the autonomy and accountability of schools with regards to their results to the hierarchy or to parents. While accountability at large could be understood as a democratic tool, PBAP promote neo-liberal form of governance supposed to favour more efficiency and (sometimes) equity within education systems.(Ranson, 2003)
These policies are based on a large repertoire of tools (contracts of performance, strategic plans, tests, statistical and pedagogical monitoring tools), more or less developed in each context (Lingard, Martino & Rezai-Rashti, 2013). However, these policy tools are combined in specific ways according to the history and the political imaginary of each society. PBAP may thus vary from one national context to another, depending on the magnitude of the stakes they pose to local actors (Carnoy & Loeb, 2002), on the relationships or objects of accountability (Leithwood & Earl, 2000), but also on the theory of change underlying the policy and the alignment of its tools (Maroy & Voisin, 2013; Maroy, 2015). More crucially, PBAP differ in how agents located at the intermediary or the local level use and give meaning dynamically to these instruments and more generally to these policies.
The specific focus of this symposium is thus to question the enactments of these policies at various levels (national, sub-national or local) and to focus on the instrumentation and the mediations of these PBAP. We do not consider the policy tools in a functionalist perspective, but as moving constructs binding various actors, as carriers of cognitive and normative frameworks, producing specific social, professional or institutional effects (Lascoumes & Le Galès, 2004 ; Kassim & Le Galès, 2010). This focus on the instrumentation of the policy is moreover articulated with the analysis of the mediations of PBAP, the fact that there are co-constructed and enacted by various actors and organizations that transfer, translate, and contextualize these policies and their tools.
The objective of the symposium is not only to highlight the various ways through with PBAP are enacted, but also to discuss the sources of the differences. Moreover, the organizational effects (degree of coupling/decoupling of practices) social effects (power relations, redefinition of professional boundaries) or institutional effects (the cognitive and normative frameworks institutionalized beyond the explicit values) of these enactments are also to the fore
The perspective is comparative at different levels (global, national, local) and rooted in two transnational and ongoing research projects. On one hand, the NewAGEproject is a multilevel comparative project on PBAP in France and Canada (Quebec) (research coordinators : Christian Maroy & Xavier Pons ; Maroy & Pons, 2019). On the other hand, the Reformedproject (coordinator : Antoni Verger) explores various European and Latin-american contexts. The comparative perspective includes thus various European and American contexts, high-stakes (ie Chile) or low stake policies (France, Norway, Spain or Quebec (Canada)), with some sub-national significant variations .
The symposium is divided in two sessions : session one is focused on instrumentation and policy enactments; session two on mediations and policies enactments.
Braun, A., Ball, S. J. et Maguire, M. (2011). Policy enactments in schools introduction: towards a toolbox for theory and research. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 32(4), 581-583. Carnoy, M. et Loeb, S. (2002). Does external accountability affect student outcomes ? A cross-state analysis. Educational Evaluation & Policy Analysis, 24(4), 305-331. Kassim, H., & Le Galès, P. (2010). Exploring governance in a multi-level polity: A policy instruments approach. West European Politics, 33(1), 1–21. http://doi.org/10.1080/01402380903354031 Leithwood, K. et Earl, L. (2000). Educational Accountability Effects: An International Perspective. Peabody Journal of Education, 75(4), 1-18. 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 Maroy, C. (2015). Comparing Accountability Tools and Rationales. Various Ways, Various Effects. Dans H.-G. Kotthof & E. Klerides (dir.), Governing Educational Spaces. Knowledge, Teaching and Learning in Transition. (p. 35-58). Rotterdam: Sense publishers. Maroy, C. et Pons, X. (ed.). (2019). Accountability Policies in Education. A Comparative and Multilevel Analysis in France and Quebec. Basel: Springer International Publishing. Ranson, S. (2003). Public accountability in the age of neoliberal governance. Journal of Education Policy, 18(5), 459-480. doi: 10.1080/0268093032000124848
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