23 SES 12 B, Accountability Policies’ Enactments : Comparative perspectives - Instrumentation Part 1
Symposium to be continued in 23 SES 14 B
This paper will be draw on a comparative research on performance based accountability policies (PBAP) in France and Quebec (Canada) (New AGE project ; Maroy & Pons, 2019). These policies share similar features: close policy tools (plans, contracts, indicators and evaluation), similar goals (to improve success, limit drop-out rate and inequalities), “low stakes” for teachers or schools. However, when it comes to study their real enactment by intermediate authorities or schools and their effects, the picture is quite different. By contrast with the French case, the enactment of PBAP in Quebec schools tend, on one hand, to affect much more the technical core and the autonomy of teacher, and on the other, the cognitive and normative framework used by actors in the everyday life of the school. These effects are produced by a large array of factors and mediations at different levels, but in this presentation, I will focus on the effects of the enactment of PBAP tools (contracts, statistical data, pedagogical monitoring) by the management staff in three secondary schools. Our theoretical approach is mainly grounded in the political sociology of public tools (Lascoumes et Le Galès, 2004), aiming to look beyond the technical surface of the tools and to understand their use and effects. In order to analyse how the enactment of tools produces institutional and organisational change, we use the concepts of apparatus (dispositif), regulation (in a broad sense) and test (épreuve) (Boltanski, 2009). Our methodology is based on semi-structured interviews with school’s principals (n = 7) and teachers (n = 18) and the analysis of the management tools used. However, the case studies are nested, in a broader multilevel analysis based on various qualitative methods (Maroy & Pons, 2019). The results show that two distinct but articulated regulation apparatus tend to change the school's formal rules, cognitive and normative framework. The first apparatus is based on data that tend to make various aspects of schooling commensurable and comparable and on monitoring tools. It calls upon ‘reality tests’ to assess the ‘worth’ of the teacher's actions and seek to regulate the pedagogical work of the teachers. The second apparatus is based on contractual tools and promotes a formal rationality and language (Weber). It affects the cognitive frames of the institution thru several ‘tests of truths’ contributing to an official definition of the institution's identity as a "collective search for performance and ongoing improvement.”
Boltanski, L. (2009). De la critique. Précis de sociologie de l'émancipation. Paris: Gallimard. Lascoumes, P. et Le Galès, P. (2004). Gouverner par les instruments. Paris: Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques. Maroy, C. et Pons, X. (dir.). (2019). Accountability Policies in Education. A Comparative and Multilevel Analysis in France and Quebec Basel, Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
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