Accountability Policies and Their Effects on Teachers: A Scoping Review of the Literature

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:42
Oral Presentation
Lluis PARCERISA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Antoni VERGER, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain
Accountability is becoming a central policy in the global education agenda. Accountability is a polysemic concept that can lead to different approaches (namely political, market, managerial, professional, participative and so on), and can operate in different directions. Despite the different modalities of accountability that exist, in both developed and developing countries, we are currently witnessing a greater push for accountability systems that are linked to large-scale external evaluations of learning outcomes, that focus on the school and the teachers’ level, and that have some level of consequences to those that give the account. This type of accountability is usually known as testing-based accountability (TBA).

The main objective of this research is to analyse the effects of accountability policies in education systems and in the social relations that configure such systems, with a particular focus on teachers’ work and teachers’ behaviour. Methodologically, this investigation is based on the so-called “scoping review” (n=150), which allows us to identify the main debates, agreements and disagreements in the literature about accountability in the education research field. This methodology is also used to identify the main gaps in this area of research and to point out to the main challenges and future lines of research that still need to be explored. Evidence about the real effects of accountability policies in teachers’ autonomy, organisation, and pedagogical options is still inconclusive and shows variegated effects within different institutional and socio-economic contexts. Finally, evidence also shows that accountability is a contentious policy option. In this regard, the policy design and teachers’ perceptions about accountability policies strongly mediate policy trajectories as well as individual and collective responses at the school level.