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Accountability and Performativity?

Discussion in 'Primary' started by chayzin7, Feb 20, 2019.

  1. chayzin7

    chayzin7 New commenter

    Hello everyone,

    I am student who is in my final year of studying early childhood studies and have applied to go into primary school teaching via SCITT, I am doing my dissertation on spending cuts in primary schools and how this has affected teaching? if it has? as well as the idea of neoliberalism in primary schools which has a masked agenda on focusing on performance and grades and having this one system that ''fits all'' and if you pass you are successful and if you do not pass then you get left behind as their is ''no place'' for ''them'' , so what i really wanted to find out was:

    As teachers do you feel accountable for having a focus on reaching grade performance? ( being accountable to Ofsted to prove performance and grade targets)

    What are the negatives and positives of accountability and performativity in primary schools?

    How does this affect your teaching?

    Thank you very much for taking your time to read this and if you can reply please do it would be a great help to me and I can take any answers and advice and adapt them to my own practice to ensure I can be the best teacher to my best possible ability.
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    This seems a massive area for a dissertation and is really several dissertations in one. You need to organise your request into a clearer, more manageable, post if you want answers. For my part I can see at least 7 questions, not all of which seem to be on the same subject. It's hard to know which ones you want answered and how any of them will improve your teaching.

    1. Have spending cuts affected teaching in primary schools? And, if so, how?
    2. An assumption that there is neoliberalism in primary schools, which has a masked agenda on focusing on performance and grades.
    3. That there is a one system fits all and if you pass you are successful and if you do not pass then you get left behind as there is no place for you
    4. Do teachers feel accountable for having a focus on grade performance?
    5. Are they accountable to Ofsted to prove performance and grade targets?
    6. What are the negatives and positives of accountability and performativity in primary schools?
    7. How does this affect teaching?
    sunshineneeded and Stiltskin like this.
  3. chayzin7

    chayzin7 New commenter

    Thank you very much for you response I appreciate the feedback sorry for the confusion, how do you suggest I go about this? Post a new thread with focused questions? it is a massive area for dissertation but I believe it is an important one.

    The main question for my dissertation is based on recent government spending cuts in primary schools and how this has affected primary school provisions and teachers. Neoliberalism plays a big part in society in general and has become an even bigger part of our education system and culture and we see it everyday through things such as spending cuts and the pressure on teachers to meet standards and grades required by the government and many others things in our education system. I have seen and read many journal and research articles as well as statistics which state the findings and facts of what is happening in our education and political system. Although I myself would really like to find out the opinions of professionals on two different matters through 5 different questions.

    So I have broken it down into 5 questions and two different subjects the first being spending cuts:

    What do professionals in primary schools think the main consequences are to government spending cuts in primary schools?

    Do professionals think that government spending cuts have affected their teaching? If so how?

    The second part is focused on three questions based on accountability and performativity:

    Do you as a professional feel accountable to Ofsted to prove performance and grades?

    If so, what are the negatives and positives of accountability and performativity in primary schools?

    How does this affect your teaching?
  4. lrw22

    lrw22 Established commenter

    Is performativity even a word? I am getting so old and out of touch!! I feel a bit sad if it is an actual word.
  5. chayzin7

    chayzin7 New commenter


    Yes it is a word, if you google it it gives you an all round definition of it as : Performativity is a complex concept that can be simply thought of as a language which functions as a form of social action and has the effect of change. The concept has multiple applications in diverse fields, such as linguistics, philosophy, anthropology, law, gender studies, performance studies, and economics.

    In this case looking at more of a more educational background I would suggest look at Ball 2003 and his article called The Teachers Soul and the terrors of performativity (it looks at the meaning from an educational perspective)

    Hope that helps to refresh your mind and open up new thoughts :)
  6. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    I totally agree with the comments above that it might help if your dissertation was more focused. Have you agreed the question/title with your tutor? I'm not really clear whether this dissertation is part of your current early childhood studies course?
    Some of your questions are more relevant to teachers than others. I'm not saying this isn't important, but what do you hope to gain from exploring these ideas?
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Well there you go...That clears that up then! :rolleyes:

    Most people doing Early Years Studies want to know about creativity in the classroom, or early phonics or maths ideas, or how outdoor learning affects academic success. This all seems a bit wordy and abstract to me.
    lrw22 likes this.
  8. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Agree with the above posts, you need to talk to your university tutor. The question is important, but I think your dissertation is not going to be able explore anything in any detail and you'll end up skirting around the different areas. Try to focus on one aspect you think is worth exploring.
  9. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    It's basically a fancy word that ties up how people are held accountable with things that are being measured (which in education, is often for things that person has little control/influence over).

    It stems from the need to justify teaching as a professional occupation, which means there needs to be standards with which to measure the professional against. And in the end you measure so much that by doing so you actually start to remove their professionalism as they become limited in choosing how they perform. (IMHO)
    lrw22 likes this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Basically a load of something TES would asterisk out and most of us can't be bothered with.

    The entire country is more accountable to everyone and everything than when I started teaching...I can't be spending forever worrying about the rights and wrongs of it.

    (There are more important things in life, like whether the new Cadburys Dark Dairy Milk is worth trying... :confused:)
  11. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    I shall buy a bar and tell you! No, it's okay. No thanks needed.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Awww that's noble of you... ;)
  13. WolfPaul

    WolfPaul New commenter

    Evidently, no, it isn't a word then.
  14. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    Never use a sesquipedalian when a diminutive one will do!
  15. MonstieBags

    MonstieBags Occasional commenter

    I think neoliberalism and performativity go hand in hand when discussing the current direction of education.neoliberalism is the cause of the spending cuts and performativity is the result of the reducing humans to assets - of worth or worthless so i think you could write a really good dissertation based on these aspects of education. The rising population of SEND pupils in school is also a symptom of neoliberalism - no funding for special schools and the rise in individuals' ideas of entitlement can lead to children being placed in unsuitable settings.
    AS a year 6 teacher with responsibility for the ominous KS2 SATs, i am told up to Christmas that I should not be teaching to the test, I must provide a broad curriculum etc etc. In January, I am asked why the children have not done a SATs paper every week - why am I not teaching to the test?
    After SATs we return to the idea that under no circumstances should children be taught to the test - my end of year performance management is more or less based on the SATs results.
    efm likes this.

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