04 SES 07 C, Barriers for (Promoting) Inclusion II
Parallel Paper Session
The principles of New Public Management (NPM) have been introduced in the educational system in many countries with the purpose of rationalizing it and increasing results through the introduction of market mechanisms. (Diefenbach, 2009, Allodi & Fischbein, 2012). One of the core elements of NPM are performance measurement and accountability system. These elements are supposed to improve the quality of the services, but they can also damage the public sector, destroying the values, the trust, the commitment and the ethos of impartiality and equity that were characteristic of these services. One problematic aspect is that the measures that accountability builds upon are not necessarily valid and comprehensive. The economic aspects are measured more often than other important achievements that may be ignored or devaluated (Diefenbach, 2009). Several researchers have noticed that accountability policies may have negative effects for lower SES students, minorities, and students that are not fluent in the instruction language (Palmer, D., & Rangel, V. S. 2011, Kearns, 2011). The schools that have students with most need risk to be penalized by the accountability system (Darling-Hammond, 2007). The comparisons presuppose in fact homogeneity between the participants (Corvellec, 2003).
This study present the Swedish accountability and standardization policy in the educational sector, with comparison to the systems adopted in other countries, and analyze some indicators that are commonly employed to compare schools’ performance at the end of compulsory education (in grade 9). In particular, they are: the average qualification value (the sum of the students’ grades) and the percentage of students that are eligible to secondary education. The expected average qualification value (corrected for certain students’ background factors) and the actual average qualification value at the school level are also used in school’s evaluations. These aspects are related to the concepts of equity and inclusion in education (OECD, 2008) and to a discussion of the shortcomings of accountability measures, the phenomenon of school decline, school turnaround and school change, with reference to international research from various fields (Leithwood, 2010, Buzick & Laitusis, 2010, Kelly, & Downey 2010, Newton, Darling-Hammond, Haertel, & Thomas, 2010, E. Briggs & Weeks, 2011, Timmermans, Doolard & de Wolf, Hill, Kapitula & Umland, 2011, Jas & Skelcher, 2005, Hochbein, 2010, Dunn & Allen, 2009, Byrne & Gallagher, 2007). The theoretical framework of the study is made by organizational theories that give tools to understand goals and processes within organizations.
The aim of the study is to describe the content and context of the performance measurement in a junior- high school, giving a broad description of the school and its community: student composition, resources and students’ results. The study reports and analyzes crucial events and changes that have occurred in the school during two years. Furthemore it describes how the school’s performance is measured and perceived and what consequence the accountability policy adopted had on the school and its functioning.
Allodi, M. W. (2007). Assessing the quality of learning environments in Swedish schools: Development and analysis of a theory-based instrument. Learning Environments Research, 10(3), 157-175. Allodi, M. W. (2010). The meaning of social climate of learning environments: Some reasons why we do not care enough about it. Learning Environments Research, 13(2), 89-104. Allodi, M. W. (2010). Goals and values in school: A model developed for describing, evaluating and changing the social climate of learning environments. Social Psychology of Education, 13(2), 207-235. Allodi, M. W. & Fischbein, S. (2012). Teachers’ perception of work environment in junior-high schools. Research in Comparative and International Education. (accepted) Buzick, H. M., & Laitusis, C. C. (2010). Using growth for accountability: Measurement challenges for students with disabilities and recommendations for research. Educational Researcher, 39(7), 537-544. Corvellec, H. (2003). Narratives of organizational performance. In: Czarniawska, & Gagliardi, (red.) (2003). Narratives we organize by. Amsterdam: Benjamins p.115-134. Darling-Hammond, L. (2007). Race, inequality and educational accountability: the irony of 'No Child Left Behind'. Race, Ethnicity & Education, 10(3), 245-260. Diefenbach, T. (2009). New Public Management in Public Sector Organizations: the Dark Sides of Managerialistic ‘enlightenment’. Public Administration, 87(4), 892-909. Kearns, L. (2011). High-stakes standardized testing & marginalized youth: An examination of the impact on those who fail. Canadian Journal of Education, 34(2), 112-130. Leithwood, K. (2010). Characteristics of school districts that are exceptionally effective in closing the achievement gap. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 9(3), 245-291. Lindbom, A. (2010). School choice in Sweden: Effects on student performance, school costs, and segregation. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(6), 615-630. OECD (2007). Ten Steps to Improve Equity in Education. Pointers for policy development. Palmer, D., & Rangel, V. S. (2011). High stakes accountability and policy implementation: Teacher decision making in bilingual classrooms in Texas. Educational Policy, 25(4), 614-647.
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