23 SES 14 B, Accountability Policies’ Enactments : Comparative perspectives - Mediations Part 2
Symposium continued from 23 SES 12 B
In times of increasing distrust in public institutions and professionals, the publication of performance indicators of public services has become a wide-spread practice (Power, 1997, Ranson, 2003). In the education sector, this trend takes shape in the form of making school result data public, as a means of holding schools accountable for education quality (Ball, 2003). More recently, such practices have penetrated education systems traditionally characterised by professional trust in teachers, such as Norway (Møller & Skedsmo, 2013, Skedsmo & Mausethagen, 2016). Since 2004, results from the newly-adopted standardised tests have been published on a government-owned web-portal, as a main accountability mechanism in a system characterised by limited “hard” stakes attached to school performance. While under red-green governance (2005-2013), test scores were not published at the school level, and attempts were undertaken to prevent the construction of simplified school rankings, such efforts met limited success. Due to the Freedom of Information Act, school test scores could still be accessed, and the majority of local newspapers, as well as a few local superintendents, have published school performance indicators on a yearly basis (Camphuijsen & Levatino, forthcoming). Drawing on data collected by a survey conducted in a representative sample of schools, we examine how local differences in the publication of school performance indicators contribute to differences in pressure experienced by school leaders and teachers. Moreover, by conducting in-depth interviews with school leaders and teachers in two average-performing schools, we explore the coping strategies adopted to improve the schools’ reputation or league table position. The results show the extent to which the publication of performance indicators is related with the pressure felt by the different school actors. The results also provide an insight into the different pressure levels that publications by local authorities and/or the media generate. The qualitative component of the research deepens our understanding of the institutional/organisational factors that can determine differences between schools within the same “pressure” context.
Ball, S.J. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity. Journal of Education Policy, 18 (2): 215-228. Camphuijsen, M.K., and Levatino, A. (forthcoming). The media as key policy actor in Norwegian accountability reform: tracing local media coverage on school performance over time/in space. Møller, J., and Skedsmo, G. (2013). Modernising education: New public management reform in the Norwegian education system. Journal of Education Administration and History, 45(4): 336-352. Power, M. (1997). The Audit Society: Rituals of Verification. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ranson, S. (2003). Public accountability in the age of neo‐liberal governance. Journal of EducationPolicy, 18(5): 459-480. Skedsmo, G., and Mausethagen, S. (2016): Accountability policies and educational leadership – aNorwegian perspective. In: Easley, J. and Tulowitzki, P. (Eds.): Accountability and Educational Leadership – country perspectives. London. Routledge: 205-223.
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