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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 (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, Antonina Levatino (2021)
Schools in the media: framing national standardized testing in the Norwegian press, 2004鈥2018

In the education sector, media outlets have been increasingly active in reporting on standardized testing. The purpose of this paper is to identify the most recurrent discursive frames used by the Norwegian regional and local press when informing their readers about national standardized testing, and to explore whether differences over time and across geographical localities exist in the pervasiveness of frames. Our analysis is guided by framing theory, and builds on a corpus of 3,046 articles that focus on national testing, published by 155 Norwegian regional and local newspapers between 2004 and 2018. The analysis identifies four different discursive frames within Norwegian press coverage, namely the frame of ‘performance’, ‘transparency and empowerment’, ‘misinterpretation and misuse’, and ‘criticism’. The four frames convey highly distinct causal and normative beliefs and realities about national standardized testing. While the dominance of the frames varies over time and across Norwegian counties, the frame of ‘performance’ is increasingly pervasive, something that potentially contributes to naturalize performative-oriented reporting and competition in education. The study highlights the importance of systematic media analyses to identify circulating principle beliefs on education, and of not limiting research to national newspapers in order to grasp geographical variation in media coverage.
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Marjolein Camphuijsen, Antonina Levatino (2021)
Appendix. Schools in the Media: Framing National Standardized Testing in the Norwegian Press, 2004-2018

Full list of newspaper articles analyzed in Camphuijsen and Levatino (2021).
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Antonina Levatino (2021)
Surveying principals and teachers: Methodological insights into the design of the REFORMED questionnaires

This note describes the methodology behind the design of the REFORMED Survey questionnaires. The Survey constitutes one of the main pillars of REFORMED RS2 which is aimed at exploring the intricate relationship between SAWA policies, contextual contingencies and policy enactment dynamics. The aim of this note is essentially twofold. On the one hand, it provides detailed information on the key concepts used in RS2 as well as the theoretical underpinnings and content of the questionnaires. On the other hand, it presents a detailed overview of the methodological steps followed to conceive and develop them. The information contained in this note is relevant for those researchers who want to use the data collected through the REFORMED Survey. It also provides useful methodological insights that can be valuable for those who want to undertake similar research endeavours.
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Marjolein Camphuijsen (2020)
Coping with performance expectations: towards a deeper understanding of variation in school principals' responses to accountability demands

In recent decades, performance-based accountability (PBA) has become an increasingly popular policy instrument to ensure educational actors are responsive to and assume responsibility for achieving centrally defined learning goals. Nonetheless, studies report mixed results with regard to the impact of PBA on schools’ internal affairs and instructional practices. With the aim of contributing to the understanding of the social mechanisms and processes that induce particular school responses, this paper reports on a study that examines how Norwegian principals perceive, interpret, and translate accountability demands. The analysis is guided by the policy enactment perspective and the sociological concept of “reactivity”, and relies on 23 in-depth interviews with primary school principals in nine urban municipalities in Norway. The findings highlight three distinct response patterns in how principals perceive, interpret, and translate PBA demands: alignment, balancing multiple purposes, and symbolic responses. The study simultaneously shows how different manifestations of two social mechanisms form important explanatory factors to understand principals’ varying responses, while it is highlighted how the mechanisms are more likely to operate under particular conditions, which relate both to principals’ trajectories and views on education, and to school-specific characteristics and the local accountability regime. The study contributes to the accountability literature by showing how, even in the relative absence of material consequences and low levels of marketization, standardized testing and PBA can drive behavioral change, by reframing norms of good educational practice and by affecting how educators make sense of core aspects of their work.
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