23 SES 14 B, Accountability Policies’ Enactments : Comparative perspectives - Mediations Part 2
Symposium continued from 23 SES 12 B
In recent decades, national large-scale assessments (NLSAs) and test-based accountability (TBA) have spread worldwide (Verger, Parcerisa & Fontdevila, 2018). TBA is being adopted in many countries as a “best practice” to enhance education quality despite there is still no consensus on what are the consequences of these policies at the school level. In the field of educational research, some scholars consider that TBA policies increase learning outcomes and promote curriculum alignment, whereas others point out that these policies can have unexpected or non-desired consequences, such as cream-skimming, teaching to the test or cheating (Hamilton, et al., 2002). Chile has a long experience with external evaluations as a means to promote school competition, assure educational quality and held schools accountable. The main purpose of this research is two-fold. First, the paper explores how TBA is being enacted in Chile and to what extent it generates unexpected and opportunistic responses (namely students’ selection and cheating) at the school level. Second, the paper also analyzes whether these responses differ according to school characteristics and contextual factors. In our perspective, the school context and, specifically, the position of the school in the hierarchy of the local education market (LEM), play a key role in the enactment of TBA policies (Maroy and van Zanten, 2009). In this sense, we hypothesize that the position of schools in their local education market (LEM) strategically mediates the generation of more expressive or instrumental responses to external accountability pressures (Lingard, et al, 2013). Methodologically, we adopt an innovative survey experiment approach (Atzmüller and Steiner, 2010; Hainmueller et al. 2014) in a survey administered to both principals (n=200) and teachers (n=4000) in the three biggest urban areas of Chile (Metropolitan Region of Santiago, Concepción and Valparaíso). On the one hand, the survey experiment for teachers measures to what extent and under what institutional conditions teachers would be likely to cheat when national exams are administered. On the other hand, the survey experiment for principals measures to what extent the selection of the most academically skilled students is considered by principals as a way to improve the test results of their school. The findings provide clear clues about in which contexts TBA policies are more likely to generate opportunistic behavior.
Atzmüller, C., and Steiner, P. M. 2010. Experimental vignette studies in survey research. Methodology: European Journal of Research Methods for the Behavioral and Social Sciences, 6, 128-138. Hainmueller, J., Hopkins, D.J., and Yamamoto, T. 2014. Causal inference in conjoint analysis: understanding multidimensional choices via stated preference experiments. Political Analysis, 22(1): 1–30. Hamilton, L. S., Stecher, B. M., Marsh, J. A., McCombs, J. S., & Robyn, A. 2007. Standards-based accountability under No Child Left Behind: Experiences of teachers and administrators in three states. Rand Corporation. 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., & Van Zanten, A. (2009). Regulation and competition among schools in six european localities. Sociologie du tratil 51, 67–79. Verger, A., Parcerisa, L., & Fontdevila, C. (2019). The growth and spread of large-scale assessments and test-based accountabilities: a political sociology of global education reforms. Educational Review, 71(1), 5-30.
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