Corruption and cheating increase with accountability, says Finnish expert

4th December 2014 at 17:35

Introducing high-stakes accountability regimes in schools increases corruption, cheating and teaching to the test, Finland's leading schools advocate has warned.

Pasi Sahlberg, the Nordic country's leading education policy expert, also advised against countries increasing competition among schools as it causes "problems" in the system.
 
Simply aiming to get higher in the Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment) league tables also limits collaboration between schools, he added. "Teaching to the test increases when stakes of accountability are higher," Mr Sahlberg said. "So too does corruption and cheating." 
 
Since coming to power in 2010 , the UK government has introduced a raft of policies that have increased competition between schools, placed greater onus on exam results and promoted school choice.
 
But speaking at the annual conference of the SSAT annual conference in Manchester, Mr Sahlberg urged caution to countries that have adopted such policies.
 
"Many countries have opted to increase school choice as a policy. School choice often leads to segregation and inequity," he said. "The whole school choice thing isn't something countries should do."
  
The Finn did support the use of inspection in England, however, stating that the school system was so disparate that it was inevitable. 
 
"Inspection will not improve the system, however," Mr Sahlberg said. Putting investment where it was needed most and taking a whole child approach helped improved a system, he added.

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