Literacy leadership and accountability practices: Holding onto ethics in ways that count

Kerkham, Lyn & Comber, Barbara (2016) Literacy leadership and accountability practices: Holding onto ethics in ways that count. In Lingard, Bob, Thompson, Greg, & Sellar, Sam (Eds.) National Testing and its Effects: Evidence from Australia. Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), London, pp. 86-97.

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Despite the rhetoric of schools serving the needs of specific communities, it is evident that the work of teachers and principals is shaped by government imperatives to demonstrate success according to a set of standard ‘benchmarks’. In this chapter, we draw from our current study of new forms of educational leadership emerging in South Australian public primary schools to explore the ways in which test-based accountability requirements are being mediated by principals in schools that serve high poverty communities.

Taking an institutional ethnography approach we focus on the everyday work of a principal and a literacy leader in one suburban primary school to show the complexity of the impact of national testing on practices of literacy leadership. We elaborate on the inescapable textual framings and tasks faced by the principal and literacy leader, and those that they create and modify – such as a common literacy agreement and ‘literacy chats’ between a literacy leader and classroom teacher – in order to ‘hold on to ethics’.

We argue that while leaders’ and teachers’ everyday work is regulated by ‘ruling relations’ (Smith, 1999), it is also organic and responsive to the local context. We conclude with a reflection on the important situated work that school leaders do in mediating trans-local policies that might otherwise close down possibilities for engaging ethically with students and their learning in a particular school.

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ID Code: 93654
Item Type: Book Chapter
ISBN: 978-1-138-96164-7
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Taylor & Francis Group
Deposited On: 14 Mar 2016 00:14
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2016 00:48

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