Theses Doctoral

The Interaction Between Accountability Policies for Kindergarten and Institutional Practices: Kindergarten Teachers and Principals Responses to Policies in Four Public and Private Subsidized Schools in Chile

Parra, Victoria

Similar to many other countries, over the past decade Chile has developed policies increasing accountability over schools and teachers working with young children, yet little is known about the impact of these policies on teachers and teaching practices.
This study contributes to the research on policy implementation by examining the interaction between accountability policies and institutional practices in kindergarten in the context of the Chilean school system. Specifically, this multiple-site case study explored the responses of kindergarten teachers and principals in different school contexts to policies driven by accountability principles. The study employs a critical approach mobilizing a blend of institutional theory and sense-making theory to examine schools’ macro and micro levels of policy implementation.
The results indicate that according to teachers there is a disjunction between the traditional aims of early childhood education, and the objectives of current policies that emphasize results over processes. The teachers interviewed in this study felt that accountability policies largely increase control and surveillance over their teaching and privilege standardized performance measures over holistic child development. However, these policies do provide teachers some opportunities to improve their professional legitimacy in an educational context that usually isolates them. The study also reveals a large gap between teachers’ and principals’ knowledge of early childhood education and their views of the impact of accountability policies.
One of the main implications of this study is that policy implementation should put in place supporting actions to help teachers implement accountability practices while acknowledging teachers’ expertise and fostering their agency.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Hatch, Thomas
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
June 14, 2018