Accountability Testing in Canada: Aligning Provincial Policy Objectives with Teacher Practices

  • Derek Copp Good Spirit School Division
Keywords: Educational accountability, professional accountability, large-scale assessment, reactivity, data-driven, Canadian provincial assessment


One of the major functions of large-scale assessment is educational accountability. The expectation for the improvement of instruction based on test results is called “professional accountability” and it is built into provincial assessment policies across Canada. This study asked teachers to self-report on instructional changes they have made in response to large-scale assessment data. How teachers respond to external evaluation is “reactivity” which can gauge both the amount and type of instructional effects. Quantitative analyses were done to examine the prevalence of reactivity, and qualitative interview data were used to support the findings and to elaborate on relevant details. The results were that teachers generally do show reactivity to large-scale assessment data, yet this change tends to be more “teaching to the test.” There is no consensus in the teaching community regarding assessment or accountability policies. These policies do not focus on teacher implementation practices needed to meet stated goals.

Author Biography

Derek Copp, Good Spirit School Division
Dr. Derek Copp is a teacher and administrator in Esterhazy, Saskatchewan. He completed his PhD in 2015 at Maastricht University’s Graduate School of Governance. His work experiences have been in public and private schools in Japan, to First Nations communities in Western Canada, and in other public schools from Canada’s east coast to the west. He currently resides in the mining and farming community of Esterhazy, Saskatchewan.