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Antoni Verger, Llu铆s Parcerisa (2022)
Test-Based Accountability and the Rise of Regulatory Governance in Education: A Review of Global Drivers

Faced with this reality, this chapter analyses why TBA has been disseminated and adopted as a core tool of regulatory governance in education globally. Specifi cally, the chapter focuses on the reasons, factors and actors behind the international dissemination of TBA. Th e chapter is structured into two main parts. Th e fi rst part focuses on the main drivers and circumstances that, in an increasingly globalized policy and economic scenario, are conducive to the spread and adoption of TBA in education internationally, whereas the second part focuses on the particular role of international organizations in the dissemination and promotion of accountability measures in education. Methodologically, this research is based on the scoping review method which aims to identify the main trends as well as the critical areas of disagreement and the existing ‘gaps’ within a specifi c fi eld of the literature. Th e scoping review approach allows researchers to map the existing literature on a certain topic in a shorter period of time. For the purpose of this particular review, we have used mainly two scientifi c databases: Web of Science (WoS) and SCOPUS. Additionally, we carried out hand searching in key books and journals, grey literature and documents elaborated by international organizations. In total, fi ft y-one documents that focus on the international dissemination of accountability policies in education were selected. All these documents were published between 1995 and 2015.
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Natalie Browes (2022)
Test鈥慴ased accountability and perceived pressure in an autonomous education system: does school performance affect teacher experience?

Across the globe, education quality has become synonymous with student per- formance. The shift towards test-based accountability (TBA) has changed what is required of schools and what it means to be a ‘good teacher’. Different tools may trigger a performance orientation within schools, from administrative (such as the Inspectorate) to market (schools competing for students). It is logical to assume that TBA policies will be interpreted and enacted differently in schools at differ- ent ends of the performance spectrum, and this, in turn will affect the expectations on teachers and the pressures they feel. Based on interviews with teachers (n = 15), principals (n = 4) and the school board (n = 1), this study compares the experiences of teachers in two ‘high’ and two ‘low’ performing primary schools under the same management in one Dutch city. Findings reveal that the schools respond differently to TBA, and are facing different performance pressures, yet in all four, test data was found to significantly shape educational practices. It was further found that teachers experience pressure in different ways; however, it cannot be said that those in high- performing schools experience less pressure compared to those in low-performing schools, or vice versa. Rather, teachers’ experience of pressure is more closely connected to their schools’ logics of action: the practices the schools adopted in response to accountability measures and their relative market position.
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Antonina Levatino, Llu铆s Parcerisa, Antoni Verger (2022)
Understanding the Stakes: The Influence of Accountability Policy Options on Teachers' Responses

Under test-based accountability, undesired teachers' responses -including illicit practices to inflate test results- are usually associated to so-called high-stakes policies. However, the influence of different types of stakes in the generation of undesired effects has been overlooked in education research. Based on a survey experiment, our results indicate that the type and level of stakes (e.g. high- vs low-stakes, material vs symbolic) do not differ in triggering undesired accountability effects. Counterintuitively, individual symbolic consequences trigger similar reactions among teachers than material incentives. In-depth interviews give insights into the social mechanisms that lead to symbolic effects having such an influence in understanding teachers' reactivity to accountability.
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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, Jorunn M酶ller, Guri Skedsmo (2020)
Test-based accountability in the Norwegian context: exploring drivers, expectations and strategies

This paper investigates how and why test-based accountability (TBA), a global model for education reform, began to dominate educational debates in Norway in the early 2000s, and how this policy has been operationalised and institutionalised over time. In examining the adoption and retention of TBA in Norway, we build on the cultural political economy framework, in combination with a political sociology-driven approach to policy instruments. The analysis draws on two data sources: four White Papers and 37 in-depth interviews with top-level politicians, policy-makers and stakeholders, conducted between September 2017 and February 2018. The findings indicate that ‘scandalisation’ of Norway’s below-expected PISA results and promotion of standardised testing as a neutral device contributed to the relatively abrupt adoption of national testing in the early 2000s. The increasingly dominant policy discourse equalising education quality and learning outcomes led to the institutionalisation of TBA, developed to ensure equity and quality standards in a decentralised education system. Increased visibility, benchmarking and administrative control are identified as key mechanisms in putting pressure on local actors to re-orient their behaviour. The study provides original insights into the drivers, expectations and strategies underlying TBA in a social democratic institutional regime.
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Natalie Browes (2019)
The instrumentation of test-based accountability in the autonomous dutch system

Test-based accountability or ‘TBA,’ as a core element of the pervasive Global Education Reform Movement (GERM), has become a central characteristic of education systems around the world. TBA often comes in conjunction with greater school autonomy, enabling governments to assess ‘school quality’ (i.e. test results) from a distance. Often, quality improvement is further encouraged through the publication of these results. Research has investigated this phenomenon and its effects, much of it focusing on Anglo-Saxon cases. This paper, drawing on expert interviews and key policy documents, couples a policy borrowing with a policy instruments approach to critically examine how and why TBA has developed in the highly autonomous Dutch system. It finds that TBA evolved incrementally, advancing towards higher stakes for schools and boards. Further, it argues that school autonomy has been central to the development of TBA in two ways. Firstly, following a period of decentralisation that increased school(board) autonomy, the Dutch government saw a need to strengthen accountability to ensure education quality. This was influenced by international discourse and accelerated by a (politically exploited) national ‘quality crisis’ in education. Secondly, the traditionally autonomous Dutch system, shaped by ‘Freedom of Education’, has at times conflicted with TBA, and has played a significant role in (re)shaping global policy and in mitigating the GERM.
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Antoni Verger, Llu铆s Parcerisa, Clara Fontdevila (2018)
The growth and spread of large-scale assessments and test-based accountabilities: a political sociology of global education reforms

The Global Education Reform Movement (GERM) is expanding internationally and reaching countries that seemed to be immune to this education reform approach until quite recently. Accordingly, more and more educational systems in the world are articulated around three main policy principles: accountability, standards and decentralisation. National large-scale assessments (NLSAs) are a core component of the GERM; these assessments are increasingly used for accountability purposes as well as to ensure that schools achieve and promote centrally defined and evaluable learning standards. In this paper, we explore these trends on the basis of a new and original database on NLSAs, as well as on data coming from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) questionnaires. In the paper we also discuss how different theories on policy dissemination/globalisation explain the international spread of NLSAs and test-based accountability worldwide, and reflect on the potential of a political sociology approach to analyse this globalising phenomenon.
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