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Antoni Verger, Clara Fontdevila, Llu铆s Parcerisa (2022)
Constructing School Autonomy with Accountability as a Global Policy Model: A Focus on OECD's Governance Mechanisms

This chapter aims at understanding the role of the OECD in the development and international dissemination of SAWA policies. Specifically, the chapter analyses the governance mechanisms through which these reforms are being promoted by the OECD, namely, data gathering, education policy evaluation, and the generation of policy ideas through different knowledge products and policy spaces. Methodologically, the chapter is based on a systematic literature review of a corpus of 33 papers, which we triangulate with official documents produced by the OECD. The chapter is structured as follows. In the first part, we present our research framework, which covers both our theoretical approach and our methods. In the second part, we present our main results, which we organize according to the different governance mechanisms articulated by the OECD around SAWA reforms. In the last part, we pick up the main points in a concluding discussion.
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Llu铆s Parcerisa, Antoni Verger, Marcel Pag猫s, Natalie Browes (2022)
Teacher Autonomy in the Age of Performance-based Accountability: A Review based on Teaching Profession Regulatory Models (2017-2020)

In recent decades, the governance of educational systems has experienced dramatic changes in many countries. Schools have been given more autonomy whilst being held increasingly accountable at the central level through standardized testing and other forms of external evaluation. The mechanisms of performance-based accountability (PBA) and the consequences attached to test results vary. In high-stakes systems, teachers’ careers are more directly connected to students’ performance, and low performing schools might risk closure, whereas in lower-stakes systems, the official administrative consequences of accountability for school actors are more symbolic than material. The main aim of this paper is to understand the impact of different forms of PBA on teachers’ work from a comparative perspective. Most research on this topic is based on single-context case studies, which makes it difficult to understand the impact of policy factors and professional contexts in teachers’ decisions and autonomy. To address this challenge, we review recent investigations (2017-2020) on the topic and compare their findings in different teachers' regulatory contexts. The review includes 101 articles from the SCOPUS and Web of Science databases. We find that evidence on the impact of PBA on teachers’ perceptions and beliefs are variegated, and that the implications of PBA on teachers’ autonomy does not only depend on the level of accountability stakes, but on teachers’ professional regulation.
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Llu铆s Parcerisa, Antoni Verger, Alejandra Falabella (2022)
High-stakes accountability and the expansion of a school improvement industry in Chile

This investigation analyses the emergence of a school improvement industry in Chile, a country well known internationally for being highly marketised and commodified and for its high- stake testing policies (Bellei & Vanni, 2015; Falabella, 2020a; Parcerisa & Falabella, 2017). In this country, not only does school provision follow market rules, but in the last 15 years, the hardening and diversification of accountability measures has contributed to expand a market of commercial services for schools. Resorting to commercial ‘school improvement’ services, which in Chile are known as services of Educational Technical Assistance (ATE, for its acronym in Spanish), is one of the main ways both public and private schools address accountability pressures.
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Antoni Verger, Gerard Ferrer Esteban, Llu铆s Parcerisa (2022)
In and out of the 'pressure cooker': Schools' varying responses to accountability and datafication

Existing research tends to attribute the varying responses to accountability pressures to variables of a different nature, ranging from school leadership styles to the broader socio-economic contexts in which schools operate. However, to date, research has overlooked the role of subjective variables (such as school actors’ perceived and experienced pressures) in the mediation and enactment of PBA. To address this gap, this chapter aims to analyze the production of different patterns of responses to PBA within schools from a policy enactment perspective. On the basis of a mixed-methods study conducted in Chile, we analyze how school actors’ interpretations of and dispositions towards PBA, on the one hand, and their experienced levels of pressure, on the other, influence how they respond to the accountability regulatory system. As we will show, the responses to PBA that have been identified go beyond conventional alignment–decoupling dichotomy and include a more varying range of options. Our perspective is premised on the assumption that the way school actors respond to policy prerogatives is contingent on the way these actors make sense of PBA pressures and expectations within their broader social and institutional frameworks. In other words, the responses to PBA that we identify are the result of analyzing how school actors see and live accountability regulations in their reference contexts. To build our main arguments, the chapter is structured as follows: in the first section, on the context of the research, we introduce Chile’s long trajectory of experimentation with learning metrics and a broad range of related accountability measures. In the second section, we present our theoretical framework, where we highlight the importance of focusing not only on policy interpretation but also on perceived regulatory pressure to understand how policies are enacted. After presenting the methodology of our study in the third section, in the fourth one, we offer the main findings of the research in the form of a new categorization of school responses to PBA regulations. Finally, the conclusions highlight the key mediating role of subjective variables in the configuration of different patterns of school responses to PBA, and we reflect on the research and policy implications of our study.
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Antonina Levatino, Laura Mentini, Llu铆s Parcerisa (2022)
Teaching as affective labour in a datafied world: a scoping review of the relationship between performance-based accountability and teachers' emotions

Research has shown that in many contexts, the transformation of the public sector associated with new public management (NPM) reforms and performance-based accountability (PBA) has had profound implications for public sector workers' practices, identities and emotional experiences. Focusing on the education sector, in this paper we aim to contribute to the understanding of the relationship between PBA policies and teachers’ emotions by conducting a scoping review of the scientific literature. Our review, which is based on a final sample of 63 articles published between the years 2000-2021 obtained from the SCOPUS database, identifies two main bodies of research. The first deals with an examination of teachers’ emotions and shows how PBA is a crucial part of a changing professional environment that accentuates and/or modifies feelings and emotions already inherent to the teaching profession. The focal point of the second strand of research is the effect of PBA on teachers’ emotions; here, we identify research exploring the emotional effects of PBA, as well as the mechanisms behind different emotional experiences, how teachers deal with emotions emerging from PBA policies and a number of factors that intensify or weaken the emotional impact of PBA. On the basis of our review, limitations of existing research and gaps in the understanding of the relationship between PBA and teachers’ emotions are identified and promising lines of future research formulated
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Llu铆s Parcerisa (2022)
Teachers' beliefs about standardised testing and test-based accountability: comparing the perceptions and experiences of teachers in Chile and Norway

The global popularity of test-based accountability appears to signal political trust in standardised assessments as valid and relevant measures of education quality. Nonetheless, research shows that educators’ perceptions of standardised testing and test-based accountability can vary significantly, as do their responses to accountability demands. Considering the key influence of teachers’ beliefs on the way in which they respond to education reforms, in this paper we examine teachers’ beliefs and opinions about standardised tests and test-based accountability. We rely on a comparative study on the interpretations and experiences of standardised testing and test-based accountability demands of compulsory education teachers in Chile and Norway. These cases were selected following a most-different-systems design approach. By relying on data derived from an electronic survey (n=2,531) and in-depth interviews (n=60), the analysis shows how in both contexts, teachers are relatively critical about the validity, usefulness and fairness of the standardised tests, signalling a lack of trust of teachers in standardized testing and test-based accountability. Still, despite similar trends, some key differences in the beliefs of Chilean and Norwegian teachers are found, which highlight the influence of the sociocultural context in shaping teachers’ beliefs. By illuminating how teachers in different contexts make sense of test-based accountability, our analysis contributes to the understanding of why the often-reported mismatch between policy expectations and policy outcomes might occur.
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Marjolein Camphuijsen (2019)
School actors' enactment of a performative accountability scheme in Russia: Tensions, dilemmas and strategies

In European and global educational debates, performative or test-based accountability has become central to modernizing and raising the performance of education systems. However, despite the global popularity of performative accountability modalities, existing research finds contradictory evidence on its effects, which tend to be highly context-sensitive. With the aim of gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms and contextual factors that explain the effects of performative accountability, this study investigates the enactment of a performative accountability scheme adopted in the Russian school system. The analysis is based on interview and observation data collected during an in-depth qualitative study of two neighbouring schools with contrasting logics of action. Our findings illuminate the specific ways in which accountability policy outcomes are mediated and shaped by schools’ context and agency. We show how schools with different logics of action react to external pressures, and how different professional groups within schools experience policy pressures in dissimilar ways. We conclude that performative accountability mechanisms reinforce instrumental, and impede expressive, logics of action in schools. In both cases they produce tensions, particularly for schools in disadvantaged areas.
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Antoni Verger, Llu铆s Parcerisa (2018)
A Difficult Relationship. Accountability Policies and Teachers: International Evidence and Key Premises for Future Research

This chapter reviews international evidence on the effects of accountability policies in education, with a particular focus on teachers’ work and behavior. Specifically, on the basis of existing evidence, the chapter shows how the different components of accountability schemes (namely their policy design, enactment processes, contextual contingencies, and impact) interact in complex and multiple ways.
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