Closing the Gaps? Differential Accountability and Effectiveness as a Road to School Improvement

Research on school effectiveness and improvement is primarily concerned with the interactions between students’ learning outcomes, Institutional settings, and classroom and school environments. Specifically, effects of the school learning environment, the classroom instruction, and teaching quality on student achievement are evaluated extensively. However, these effects may vary considerably across schools, subjects, grade levels, cohorts, teachers, and sub-groups of students. Studying overall school effectiveness and improvement without taking into account potential group differences does not help identify the effects of these factors on promoting not only quality but also equity in education. Differential effectiveness research provides new research perspectives, particularly when addressing issues such as social inequality, unequal opportunities in education, achievement differences, students missing minimal standards, and further gaps. Evaluating effectiveness differentially is needed in holding schools accountable for their performance and to come to fair judgments and accurate evaluations of schools. A fair judgment and evaluation is also needed to improve the impact of such evaluations on educational quality and school improvement.

The conference is aimed at gathering state-of-the-art research on differential accountability and effectiveness, and how this can inform and enhance school improvement in order to promote not only quality but also equity in education. We invite contributors to relate to the conference topic by presenting their research on differential effectiveness and school accountability. Moreover, we welcome contributions that refer to the main topics of the EARLI SIGs 18 (Educational Effectiveness) and 23 (Educational Evaluation, Accountability and School Improvement):

  • Factors influencing the effectiveness of schools and teaching, including mediating and moderating variables
  • Large-scale evaluation of schools, programs, and educational systems, including the nature and extent of the equity gap in achievement for different student groups
  • Theoretical modeling of the relationship between educational evaluation, accountability, and school improvement
  • Design of external evaluation and accountability systems of schools and teachers (e.g., concerning reliability and validity), their relation to internal evaluation systems and the impact of such systems on equal opportunities in education, school improvement, teaching and learning in the classroom and achievement of the students
  • Empirical methods to address research questions within these main topics (e.g., longitudinal multilevel modeling, quasi-experimental approaches, regression discontinuity, randomized experiments)
Published Aug. 4, 2015 1:23 PM - Last modified Aug. 4, 2015 1:23 PM