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A goal orientation analysis of teachers’ motivations to participate in the school self-assessment processes of a quality assurance system in Chile

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The current study examined the goal orientations that could be inferred from how teachers from six municipal schools in Chile described their understandings, emotions, and behaviors during their participation in the assessment phase of the School Management Quality Assurance System. Content analysis of focus group interview transcripts evidenced three school-level patterns of participation, associated with distinct goal orientations. Projective participation to judge the quality of the school’s practices was associated with a learning orientation (one school). Consultant participation to demonstrate competence to external inspectors was associated with a performance-approach orientation (one school). Simple participation to complete tasks imposed by administrators was associated with a performance-avoidance orientation (four schools). School-level differences highlighted teachers’ perceptions of the characteristics of their school’s culture associated with the adoption of these goal orientations. These included existing internal accountability practices, the social capital the school could leverage to implement self-assessment and use external feedback, and the existing structures for teacher participation in decision making. These factors may prove to be a useful guide for the development of induction strategies to support the use of school assessment in ways that foster, rather than diminish, teachers’ motivation.

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  1. 1.

    In Chile, there are four administrative categories for schools: (a) municipal, totally financed through a per-pupil voucher system based on student attendance; (b) subsidized private, which are financed through the same voucher system, with 70 % charging parents an additional fee; (c) corporation schools, vocational high schools funded by the state and managed by business corporations; and (d) private non-subsidized which are fully funded by parents. By 2009, private-voucher schools enrolled 51 % of the students, municipal schools 42 %, and private non-subsidized 7 % (Salinas & Fraser 2012). Only municipal schools were required to implement SACG.

  2. 2.

    After the assessment phase was completed, the SACG policy was discontinued and replaced by the Priority School Program. This program charged external consultants with a new school assessment and with proposing and guiding required improvement initiatives. This change shifted Chile’s school improvement policy from a bottom-up to a top-down model which persists to date.


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This study was funded by a grant from FONDECYT-CONICYT (#1060444). Additional funding has been provided to the authors by PIA-CONICYT, Project CIE-05. Funding agencies do not have editing control of the contents of this article. We thank Andy Hargreaves and the three anonymous reviewers for their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Carmen Montecinos.

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Montecinos, C., Madrid, R., Fernández, M.B. et al. A goal orientation analysis of teachers’ motivations to participate in the school self-assessment processes of a quality assurance system in Chile. Educ Asse Eval Acc 26, 241–261 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11092-014-9190-5

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  • School evaluation
  • Self evaluation
  • School improvement
  • Accountability
  • Teacher motivation
  • Chile