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From accountability to shared responsibility: A case study of a multi-layered educational change initiative

Abstract

This research examined how stakeholders (n = 40) from one school district experienced “accountability” within a context where responsibility for student learning was being distributed across the system. Using a case study design, we examined: what conditions supported stakeholders in multiple roles to exercise responsibility for student learning? Analyses of documents and interviews revealed conditions that enabled teachers, instructional leaders, and administrators to share responsibility in relation to their roles, and empowered teachers to engage in inquiry for continuous improvement and build from their sense of professionalism and responsibility. Implications are discussed for empowering teachers, and other stakeholders, to exercise responsibility in the context of an accountability system.

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Acknowledgements

This project was supported by a standard research grant to the second author from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. We are thankful for Stephanie Higginson’s support with data collection. We would also like to thank the participants in this study for their willingness to share their experiences with the project team.

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MacNeil, K.A., Butler, D.L. & Schnellert, L.M. From accountability to shared responsibility: A case study of a multi-layered educational change initiative. J Educ Change (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10833-021-09440-4

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Keywords

  • Accountability
  • Educational change
  • Continuous improvement
  • Professional responsibility
  • Responsibility
  • Shared responsibility
  • Student data
  • Teacher learning
  • Trust