Logics of accountability: Cross-national patterns in school-level controls





Educational accountability, logics of accountability, educational control, TALIS 2013, cross national analysis


This paper explores multiple logics of accountability by examining patterns of control of various school functions under different accountability systems. Research has shown that accountability is a global phenomenon, but how accountability is understood and enacted is locally contextualized, which implies the existence of multiple logics of accountability in practice. By linking theoretical arguments rooted in literature to empirical evidence observed in TALIS 2013, we aim to theorize logics of accountability and then demonstrate the existence of those logics across countries. We first developed a framework of logics of accountability: control-based, professional-based, test-based, and process-based accountability. We then empirically analyzed three types of control—external, internal, and mixed control—at the school level across countries and within four content areas—assessment, human resource, curriculum, and budget—to infer how each country consistently follows a logic of accountability in their schooling practices. We found that a few countries followed a relatively pure form of control-based, professional-based, and process-based logic; however, most countries followed mixed-forms of logic. Our findings provide a systematic approach for the mapping of accountability logics across countries and suggest that more thought should be paid to how the underlying logic of accountability should manifest across these different functions.


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Author Biographies

Taeyeon Kim, Michigan State University

Taeyeon Kim is a PhD candidate in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. Her research interests include leadership development, the intersections of policy and leadership practice, and the links between education and social change. She is also interested in comparative perspectives on policy and school reform.

John T. Yun, Michigan State University

John T. Yun is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration at Michigan State University. His research focuses on issues of equity in education, including persistence in higher education, patterns of school segregation, the effect of poverty and opportunity on educational outcomes, the educative/counter-educative impacts of high-stakes testing, and the power of evaluation to impact policy and practice.




How to Cite

Kim, T., & Yun, J. T. (2019). Logics of accountability: Cross-national patterns in school-level controls. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 27, 119. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.27.4597