Essays on Accountability and Achievement in Education Systems: Evidence from Large-Scale Cross-National Assessments (02/19)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Education

Abstract

Evidence from various developing countries across the globe has demonstrated that schooling of children at various levels has not effectively translated into learning. In order to address the prevailing learning crisis, there is an impending need to examine how different education systems embedded in diverse socio-political contexts function. Thus producing knowledge on what matters and what doesn't work amidst the changing circumstances and current challenges. This knowledge is crucial to formulate any kind of policy to improve education systems to produce higher and equitable learning outcomes.

In this light, my study aims to investigate how accountability processes, in different contexts, effect student achievement rates and how these affects are distributed across various socio-economic categories.
This study employs a systems approach which views school system as a set of or a network of relationships and cumulative practices occurring in a particular format. Previous studies have conceptualised accountability using Principal-agent approach treating schools as homogenous systems and ignoring the complex relationships between different actors within schools. It employed a simplistic view of relationships between groups. This study extends the idea of accountability employing a multi-level, multi-stakeholder understanding connecting various processes and different actors involved (such as teachers, parents, students, head teacher etc.), institutions (such as school, state, family etc.) situated in varying socio-economic and political contexts.

The doctoral thesis is planned to be a collection of research essays studying accountability and its effects in few chosen contexts by employing different large-scale cross-national datasets namely - PISA, TIMSS, TERCE, PASEC, SACMEQ and ESRC (OPAL). The research predominantly uses suitable advanced quantitative methods (such as multi-level modelling, Structural Equation Modelling, mediation & moderation analysis, measurement invariance etc.) to arrive at robust inferences.

Additionally, in-depth qualitative case studies will be undertaken on a subset of schools, which will provide insights into the engagement between different actors and the accountability relationships. The qualitative aspect will provide a foundation for the generation of theories to explain the patterns in quantitative findings, also triangulating the findings and contributing to the theoretical understandings of accountability and organizational relationships in education.

In terms of potential applications and benefits, lately, a great deal of attention from international development donors, national governments and other private bodies have been focusing on new and innovative models of school management (e.g. community-managed or privatization), however there is lack of evidence on the extent to which different organisational models are linked to variations in accountability and/or student achievement levels. Furthermore, the emphasis on cognitive outcomes reduces the nature of learning merely to numeracy and literacy skills and does not account for non-cognitive processes which are proved to have significant effect on life outcomes. This research can potentially throw more light and add to the understanding of the role of different school management models and other systemic factors in shaping holistic learning of children mediated by accountability.

The additional funding for Overseas Fieldwork would be necessary to collect primary data on accountability processes from different sample schools from three Indian states.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2027
1936303 Studentship ES/P000630/1 01/10/2017 30/09/2021 Kalyan Kumar Kameshwara