School Autonomy & Accountability in Thailand

Thailand’s education system is in the midst of a reform process that began in 1999, with the aim of establishing a new path for student-centered learning, improving education quality, and moving the country into a more competitive position in the region.  However, 15 years into the reform process, the education sector is not producing the expected results.  In a recent paper (http://ow.ly/VOlRw) published by UNESCO’s Prospects, written with Gustavo Arcia and Kevin Macdonald, we study the implementation policy towards school autonomy and accountability. The analysis uses a conceptual framework based on the interaction between school autonomy, student assessment, and accountability as elements of a closed system. The article analyzes the implementation of school autonomy and accountability policy – measured by SABER data – using data collected from the schools in Thailand that participated in the 2009 PISA survey. To understand how autonomy and accountability relate to student achievement, the study estimates a linear regression with PISA reading achievement as the dependent variable and indicators of autonomy and accountability (and control variables) as the independent variables. The estimates suggest that students at schools exercising a higher level of operational autonomy than the level ascribed by regulation tend to have PISA reading scores 6.0–8.6 points higher than students at schools that behave less autonomously. These results are consistent with other research findings.AAA

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