Accountability, Alignment, and Coherence: How Educators Made Sense of Complex Policy Environments in the Common Core Era

Emily M. Hodge, Elizabeth Leisy Stosich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study takes advantage of natural variation in alignment and accountability to analyze educator sensemaking of a complex policy environment. It describes how educators in two large, high-accountability districts in New York and Florida made sense of multiple policy changes, including new standards, curriculum, assessments, and teacher evaluation. Drawing on interviews with 68 individuals, observations of instruction and professional development, and policy documents, findings suggest that high policy alignment represents a fundamental yet insufficient condition for educators to perceive policies as coherent and coordinated. Accountability strength and policy sequence were important factors in educators’ perceptions of coherence. In both districts, the pace and complexity of change contributed to policy overwhelm.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Evaluation and Policy Analysis
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • accountability
  • case studies
  • curriculum
  • educational policy
  • educational reform
  • high-stakes testing
  • policy analysis
  • qualitative research

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