1st Edition

School Reform in an Era of Standardization Authentic Accountabilities

By Ian Hardy Copyright 2021
    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    226 Pages
    by Routledge

    School Reform in an Era of Standardization explores how teachers and school-based administrators navigate the processes of accountability and standardization in schooling systems and settings. It provides clear insights into how the work and learning of teachers and students in schools have been dramatically reconstituted by increased pressures of external, political scrutiny and accountability. The book reveals in detail the nature and effects of standardization processes upon schools and schooling systems. Specifically, it shows how curriculum development, teaching and assessment practices have all been recalibrated under conditions of increased external scrutiny of teacher and student work and learning, and how such processes are manifest in curriculum dominated by attention to literacy and numeracy, more 'scripted' pedagogies and standardized testing.

    However, the research not only elaborates the detrimental effects of such processes, but also how those responsible for educating in schools – teachers, heads of curriculum, deputy-principals and principals – have responded proactively by interpreting, interrogating and challenging these conditions. In this way, it provides resources for hope – evidence of what are described as more ‘authentic accountabilities’ – and at the same time it provides a clear portrait of the difficulty of fostering substantive curriculum, teaching and assessment reform during an era of increasingly reductive accountability processes. It will be an invaluable resource for understanding and enhancing practices in schools and school systems in the decades to come, and for giving hope to educators in the ongoing work of rebuilding trust in public education.

    Chapter 1: Introduction: The rise of accountability and audit in schools. PART I: PHILOSOPHY, POLICY AND POLITICS. Chapter 2: Governing for and through accountability: A brief history. Chapter 3: Educational policy and politics in an era of standardized accountability. PART II THE POLITICS OF PRACTICE. Chapter 4: Accounting for curriculum reform in contemporary times: Standardized curriculum, accountability and contestation. Chapter 5: Teaching in and beyond an age of accountability. Chapter 6: Testing times: Teaching to and beyond the test. Chapter 7: Conclusion - Beyond standardization of educational provision: The case for authentic accountabilities


    Ian Hardy (PhD) is Associate Professor of Education at the School of Education, The University of Queensland, Australia. Dr Hardy researches the relationship between education and society, particularly the broader socio-political contexts that influence educators’ work and learning, and educators' responses to the policy and political settings in which their work is undertaken.

    Ian Hardy’s book is a compelling account of the challenges that characterize contemporary education in an era of increasingly standardised schooling practices. The book provides substantial empirical insights and ethical depth to the terrors of performativity that attend accountability agenda but also the possibility of accounting for education differently, and how teacher agency is vital to this work. School Reform in an Era of Standardization is an important contribution to debates about the educative potential of schools into the future-Professor Stephen Ball, Emeritus Professor, The Institute of Education, The University of London

    This is exactly the correct time for Ian Hardy's important book. By providing us with a detailed and insightful analysis of the truly worrisome effects of the policies and processes of standardization in education – and of how educators actually respond to them – Ian Hardy has significantly advanced our understanding of what educational reality is like for so many educators-Professor Michael W. Apple, John Bascom Professor of Education Emeritus, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Ian Hardy’s School Reform in an Era of Standardization provides a richly theorised and empirically-based exploration of how contemporary modes of performative accountability disaffect the work of teachers and school leaders. While the data are Australian, the insights are essential to all those interested in researching and reconstituting authentic educational accountabilities that place trust in teachers, and have educative effects-Professor Bob Lingard, Emeritus Professor, The University of Queensland, & Research Professor, Institute for Learning Sciences & Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University