Accountability, capacity and trust to improve learning outcomes in South Africa; a systems approach

Lead Research Organisation: Free (VU) University of Amsterdam
Department Name: Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sci

Abstract

South Africa has a long history of oppression and apartheid which have led to great inequalities, despite South Africa's classification as an upper-middle income country (World Bank, 2008). 26 years after the fall of apartheid, the systematic racial segregation practiced under apartheid, in conjunction with an overtly white supremacist ideology still has a profound impact on South Africa's society as well as its education system (Spaull, 2012). Howie (2012) explains how South Africa struggles with a widening performance gap between rich and poor students and high levels of drop out, particularly among black Africans. Spaull's (2012) analysis of SACMEQ III data shows that students in the 25% wealthiest schools are far more likely to have their own textbook, receive homework frequently and experience less teacher absenteeism compared to the poorest 75% of schools. The distribution of resources and capital still privileges white South Africans, according to Nattrass and Seekings (2001) and Spaull (2012) and essentially divides the country and the education system into two nations.

Several authors point to problematic accountability relationships and a lack of trust and capacity in the South African education system as key issues in the lack of improvement of learning outcomes. Spaull (2001) for example explains how the national, provincial and local levels of government are not held accountable for their use of public resources, and how there are few (if any) tangible consequences for non-performance or to address the high rates of teacher absenteeism and low rates of curriculum coverage. Eddy Spicer, Ehren et al's (2016) systematic review also points to lack of teacher accountability in South Africa as school-based registers of teachers' attendance are not checked and national government fails to sanction teachers who are often absent.

Lack of trust inhibits the implementation of effective assessment and inspection systems as teacher unions, for example, reject inspections of teachers and block the publication of assessment data, while lack of capacity subsequently prevents district managers, area managers, principals, heads of department and teachers to effectively use the data that is available (see Eddy Spicer, Ehren et al, 2016; Howie, 2012). This 'vicious' cycle of distrust, lack of accountability and lack of capacity renders the system powerless to improve and creates a series of 'binding constraints' (e.g. weak institutional functionality, undue union influence) that need to be addressed in order to improve learning outcomes, according to Van der Berg et al (2016).

These examples highlight the need to understand the intricate relations between accountability, capacity and trust and how these relations produce (or fail to produce) a pattern of change in learning outcomes over time and create a divided unequal system. We aim to study these relations in South Africa's public primary education system in three phases: 1) Social network analysis of the (accountability and trust) relations and flow of resources in a low and high performing school in quintile 1 and 5 (20% of schools in most deprived and wealthy areas), 2) A focus group in which we will map the causal loops which describe how trust, capacity and accountability interconnect through a series of balancing and/or reinforcing feedback loops and how these loops have (in the past) produced (or failed to produce) a pattern of change in learning outcomes and have created large inequity in the system, and 3) Collecting quantitative (assessment and questionnaire data) to test the causal loops via longitudinal path models and multiple-indicator multiple-cause (MIMIC) models.

Planned Impact

Our impact strategy is set to promote more positive and effective accountability relationships in South Africa's public primary education system with the goal of improving learning outcomes of disadvantaged children and close achievement gaps. Our study will highlight where relationships need to be improved mostly and in what way to improve learning outcomes, but initial scoping of the South African landscape and conversations with key stakeholders suggest that an overall lack of trust in the system, and particularly between national authorities (Department for Basic Education), teacher unions, principals, and teachers are key to improving relationships.

These stakeholders are the main beneficiaries of our work, specifically:
- Department of Basic Education
- SACE (South Africa Council for Educators, responsible for registering educators, CPD and code of professional ethics)
- National Association of School Governing Bodies
- Provincial Education Department
- District-level authority/circuit manager
- Support services (e.g. MIET Africa, SAPESI)
- Developers of annual assessments (grade 3 and 6), and international assessments (TIMSS, SACMEQ, PIRLS)
- District Officials and Subject Advisors, NEEDU
- Teacher unions (South African Democratic Teachers Union, Sadtu; National Teachers Union, Natu; National Professional Teachers' Organisation of South Africa, Naptosa; the Professional Educators Union, PEU; SA Onderwys Unie, SAOU).

By the end of this project we aim to have supported these key stakeholders in:
- Building the capacity (financial and material resources, knowledge and skills) and trust to implement well-functioning assessment and inspection systems, and
- Developing effective ways to share and use data and feedback from national and international assessments and school inspections
With the purpose of improving learning outcomes of disadvantaged students.

Our research activities are set up in a manner that allows us to build constructive and collaborative relationships with key stakeholders, where building trust and buy-in is a key strategy from the start of the project.
Our impact strategy includes three strategies:
1) Trust building and stakeholder engagement (through involvement of key stakeholders in research activities, working with an advisory board and our co-investigator JET Education Services). Our pathways of impact start with building relationships though our one-on-one interviews with all these stakeholders at the start of the project, and their involvement as participants on a stakeholder group throughout the project.
2) Knowledge transfer and mobilization (academic papers, written briefings and press releases, video clips, published on YouTube, OpenLearn, plugged through personal and institutional twitter accounts and our project website, and linked to BBC iPlayer, JET bulletins and learning briefs and UNESCO/UNEVOC network),
3) Capability and capacity-building (seminar, workshops incorporated in existing teaching activities, and informing initial teacher training and development of teaching standards).
We have already received letters of support for our project from the main accountability body, the South African Council of Educators (SACE), and one of the main teacher unions, SADTU.

Publications

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Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
ES/P005888/1 01/09/2017 01/02/2019 £513,992
ES/P005888/2 Transfer ES/P005888/1 02/02/2019 31/03/2022 £304,197
 
Description Our study findings show how school staff in high and low performing primary schools in South Africa understand trust and accountability and the extent to which organisational trust and formal and informal systems and cultures of accountability vary across both types of schools.

Trust
Respondents in both high and low performing schools have similar understandings of trust with no significant differences between low and high performing schools in agreement in trust ratings. In both types of schools 'doesn't lie' and 'means well and 'tries to do the right thing' score high, while 'reputation' and 'returning a favour' are considered less important. These findings suggest that, across schools and regardless of the level of performance, integrity is of key importance in how school staff come to trust someone else, more so than competence or benevolence; two other elements of our commonly used trust definition.

Accountability
There is more variation between low and high performing schools in how staff understand accountability. School staff in high performing schools understand accountability as taking (pro-active) responsibility for one's work and role, particularly to ensure student learning and well-being, being transparent and open about mistakes towards colleagues and the school management team, practicing what you preach and doing what you promised to do. The understanding of accountability in these schools is clearly linked to a sense of professionalism where staff feel agentive in determining the quality of their school. This in contrast to how staff in low performing schools tend to describe accountability, for example with reference to compliance, subjugation and implementation of specific tasks and activities as directed by those in line management positions, and/or external policy (including CAPS).

Capacity
School staff understanding of accountability and variation between low and high performing schools can also be seen in how they organize their internal quality control. High performing schools tend to have relatively well functioning internal systems for decision-making and discussing problems, where staff are involved in or consulted about decisions, and are encouraged to follow the line of command to report problems. These systems include relatively well-organized systems for planning and monitoring, informed by the IQMS, and reporting to the district with grade/subject meetings to moderate assessments (sometimes including an item analysis), discuss assessment outcomes and learner progress, classroom observations, checking of book and teacher files and logging teacher/learner attendance in a school management system (SA SAMS/principal primary).

Internal decision-making and monitoring in low performing schools is overall much less developed with various examples of nepotism, conflict, unsafe culture to discuss complaints in which problems are immediately escalated to (in case of parents) the principal or the district (by teachers). Monitoring and evaluation in these schools is implemented to comply with district requirements but doesn't seem to inform improvement on the school level or further support by the district but only done for reporting purposes.
Exploitation Route The findings indicate how accountability is understood differently across low and high performing schools and how this influences the agencies of teachers in improving their school.
Sectors Education

URL https://www.jet.org.za/work/project-showcase/accountability-in-education/accountability-capacity-and-trust-to-improve-learning-outcomes-in-south-africa-a-systems-approach
 
Description Our theoretical framework on the relation between trust, accountability and capacity was taken up last year by various policy-makers across the world in reflecting why education reform is or is not successful. We were invited on a number of occasions to present findings and conversations with international colleagues also culminated in an edited book with a website with video interviews. http://business-school.open.ac.uk/research/projects/trust-capacity-and-accountability/book
First Year Of Impact 2020
Sector Education
Impact Types Societal,Policy & public services

 
Title Online research lab 
Description We developed the methodology of online research lab to develop a conceptual framework and engage in data collection and analysis in an online environment. Online research labs are collaborative research initiatives structured around a set of webinars with further research activities in between sessions to analyse and share data from existing studies and work towards a joint outcome. The method was developed to continue comparative research in a time where international travel is restricted due to COVID-19 and concerns about climate change. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The method is incorporated in the offer of activities of ICSEI, the International Conference for School Effectiveness and Improvement and taken on by their members to continue international comparative work. 
URL https://www.icsei.net/networks/cren/online-research-labs/
 
Title Script for group model building to construct causal loop diagrams which explain high inequality in education systems 
Description The group model building script allows facilitators to work with a group of stakeholders to come to understand the persistence of inequalities in the education system and how these are linked to broader cultural, social, economic and political dynamics in South Africa. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact 4) February 2019: we held 3 one day group model building sessions with: a. 10 district curriculum managers and subject advisors from KwaZulu Natal b. 10 teachers from high and low performing schools in KwaZulu Natal c. Academics and practitioners working on school accountability and improvement. In these sessions we constructed a causal loop diagram to explain the high inequality across the system. The sessions informed our research but also helped participants develop a shared understanding of barriers for change within their own context, allowing them to share good practices and build trust to enable more effective accountability and collaboration across the system. 
 
Title Survey to measure relations of trust, accountability and capacity-building in schools 
Description We developed a survey to measure relations of trust, accountability and capacity-building in schools. The findings allow us to understand if trust and accountability can be part of the same relationship and how this affects a school's capacity to improve. For example: do individuals who trust each other, also hold each other accountable for the outcomes and quality of their work, or does high trust prevent meaningful accountability? does trust support improvement and professional development, and how? The survey needs to be personalized for staff working in a school so as to measure their detailed interactions with other individuals in the school. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The findings from the survey allows us to understand the networks in schools, and particularly relations of trust, accountability and capacity-building. Comparing these networks for different schools helps us understand the type of relations that contribute to high learning outcomes, and also whether school staff can both trust one another and hold one another accountable, and how this would improve school outcomes. 
URL https://www.jet.org.za/accountability-in-education
 
Title Trust exercise 
Description We developed a trust exercise which allows us to understand how individuals understand 'trust' and how and why they trust someone else. Administering the brief exercise allows us to understand how individuals in one organization (e.g. school) have different or similar understandings of trust and how this would support or prevent their effective collaboration. A comparison across individuals with different cultural/racial/socio-economic backgrounds and in different organisations also allows us to understand how understandings of trust vary across those dimensions. 
Type Of Material Physiological assessment or outcome measure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The tool has been used in our project and helped us in understanding the various ways in which school staff understand trust, how this links to how they are being held accountable or engage with internal and external accountability and how differences amongst staff in understandings of trust inhibit collaboration. 
URL https://www.jet.org.za/accountability-in-education
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Aarhus University
Department Danish School of Education
Country Denmark 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Johannes Kepler University of Linz
Department School of Education
Country Austria 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Nanyang Technological University
Country Singapore 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development OECD
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Pontifical Catholic University of Valparaiso
Country Chile 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation Umea University
Country Sweden 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation University of Jyvaskyla
Country Finland 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation University of London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description Consortium of academic colleagues writing up country cases on 'trust, accountability and capacity as conditions for education system improvement' 
Organisation University of Portsmouth
Department Portsmouth Business School
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution We hosted a workshop on the 12th of October 2018 for academic colleagues and practitioners from US, the UK, South Africa, Chile, Israel, Austria, Finland and Sweden in which we discussed the findings from our literature review in the morning and chaired round tables in the afternoon to discuss country cases. For each participating country, we discussed how the enactment of educational accountability systems are mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences that vary among countries, and understand potential leverage points for system change. The workshop has resulted in an agreement with participating colleagues to write and publish a book where the introductory framework is informed by the theoretical work and literature review from our ESRC-funded study and the second part will include country chapters, including two chapters with findings from our empirical work in South Africa. The book allows us to understand how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact in other contexts to (prevent) education system change. A proposal for the book is under review with Routledge who expect to be able to publish it end of 2019.
Collaborator Contribution The consortium of academic colleagues convened on the 12th of October 2018 to discuss the findings from our literature review, initial findings from South Africa and how these are relevant for their own countries. Participating colleagues discussed and presented examples from their country on how the enactment of educational accountability systems is mediated by a combination of bureaucratic capacity and societal trust, and how trust, capacity and accountability interact in ways and with consequences for the improvement of learning outcomes. The various examples allows for a wider understanding of how education systems change, how trust, accountability and capacity-building interact to prevent or promote such change and to understand potential leverage points for system change. Each of the participants is now working on a book chapter to capture their country case, which will be included in a book that will address and reflect on this theme more widely.
Impact The workshop will result in a book; a proposal has been submitted to Routledge and is under review. the chapters are multidiscplinairy as colleages from political science, educational sciences, and public administration are collaborating in writing the chapters.
Start Year 2018
 
Description ICSEI online research labs 
Organisation Educational Leaders
Country Chile 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution We collaborated with ICSEI to develop online research labs and set up of a new network within ICSEI -the International Conference on School Effectiveness and School Improvement-, co-chaired by Melanie Ehren (PI of this study). This new Crisis Response in Education Network included colleagues from Chile, the UK and the Netherlands who collaboratively organized three research labs with a wider group of international colleagues in 2020 (from the US, Canada, Australia, Chile, the UK, Kroatia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Qatar and Bahrein). The labs discussed a conceptual framework and collected data on three themes: 1. (trust in) assessments, 2. School networks, and 3) teacher agency.
Collaborator Contribution Partners participated in 3 online research labs; each of which met online for 4 times with data collection in between the sessions and resulting in a publication in an academic journal.
Impact Outputs are various publications, authored by co-conveners of the labs. Relevant for this project is a publication on teacher agency which will be published in 'Education Perspectives'.
Start Year 2020
 
Description JET Education bootcamps 
Organisation University of Pretoria
Country South Africa 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Andrew Paterson and Melanie Ehren organized an (online) boothcamp with both junior and senior colleagues (researchers and practitioners) from South Africa where we looked at structures to effectively govern the pandemic. The boothcamp was part of a wider sries of boothcamps organized by JET Education Services and brought together colleagues from across South Africa to discuss this theme and collect international data to learn from good practice in other countries. The learning from our study was incorporated throughout the boothcamp, also in discussion in other groups who were for example working on the role of trust and accountability in managing the pandemic.More information: https://www.jet.org.za/covid-19-research-response/south-african-bootcamp Online bi-weekly sessions took place between 31 March and 30 April, followed by report writing. These resulted in a virtual launch through YouTube with a report and blog published on the JET-site and widely shared over social media.
Collaborator Contribution Researchers collaborated over a 2 month period to develop a conceptual framework and collect data on theme 4 of the bootcamp: Jenna Barnes, Philip Gasseler, Marlize Kantor, Glodia Kgobe, Shadrack Mlambo, Jason Muyumba, Cebisa Ncube, Felicitas Ndlela, Monge Richer Nkuna, Tusani Sinethemba , Thabang Rainett Teffo
Impact The bootcamp resulted in a virtual launch through YouTube with a report and blog published on the JET-site and widely shared over social media. See for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyapXAdwZKE https://www.jet.org.za/covid-19-research-response/south-african-bootcamp
Start Year 2020