Students' Educational Achievements or Practicing of Citizenship: Disjunction or Alternative
Countries that are striving to upgrade their education most of the time take part in international educational projects such as PISA (OECD) and TIMSS, PIRLS, or CIVED/ICCS (IEA). Moreover, the participation in educational comparisons of students’ achievements is a country’s response to the onslaught of new requirements to account for school performance. Usually they have taken up some form of external evaluation and permanent monitoring of students’ achievements. The mandatory and regular use of testing tools exerts the pressure on students who are imposed now to much more intense effort than in past decades. Consequently, many activities praised at this stage of individual development, i.e. contacts with peers, community endorsement activities have to be abandoned or reduced. This side effect of new accountability practices of educational institutions can be shown on the aggregate level of countries and on the individual level (students). Frequently scholars meet either students of good grades but socially passive or socially active students who have poor educational achievements. IEA International Civic and Citizenship Educational Study 2009 provide the empirical foundation for this conclusion and these data will be first of all discussed.
Sociologists look for social consequences of new educational accountability practices. The most visible effect is the widespread and paid by parents supplementary training in post-school hours. The school neuroses and school violence accompanying the educational process despite reforms can be related to the new accountability practices. To compile the full list of these consequences is the task for sociologists. Authors have some additional hypotheses about these consequences. The main question, however, is whether the formal education can be in the same time effective and non-oppressive for students.