This week we have been exploring the concept of accountability in education. Before diving into the readings I created this mind map, to illustrate my somewhat basic understanding of accountability in education. I have always associated accountability with a person taking ownership  and am slowly starting to realise how much I have overlooked the role of policy in ensuring accountability.

A policy document alone does ensure accountability, a policy document forms just one part of the accountability process. In Lingard’s (2010) critical policy analysis of the Rudd government’s national schooling agenda in Australia, he explores how policies have shifted from inputs and processes  to outputs and outcomes. In addition to cautioning  against policy borrowing from ‘reference societies’,  Lingard highlights the need for social-democratic school reform. I attribute this need for change on the unintended consequences and pressure placed on schools and teachers by policy products such as the MySchool and NAPLAN initiatives.

Considering this article was written almost 10 years ago, I see no real movement or shifts in current policy, still remaining a top-down approach. For example in the “Through growth to achievement Report”   it was highlighted that accountability mechanisms (informed by policy) continued to focus on compliance with management requirements rather than maximising student growth and achievement (Gonski et al., 2018). I believe if policy was being informed from the ground up, we would see different accountability mechanisms which would recognize the responsibilities of all actors within education.


Gonski, D., Arcus, T., Boston, K., Gould, V., Johnson, W., O’Brien, L., & Roberts, M. (2018). Through growth to achievement: Report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian schools. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia.

Lingard, B. (2010). Policy borrowing, policy learning: testing times in Australian schooling. Critical Studies in Education, 51(2), 129–147.