We propose to develop and validate measures of accountability to be shared with the Nepal Ministry of Education (MOE) and to use those measures in an analysis of the determinants of accountability and its association with students? gains in achievement. The proposed study will build on the resources of the Chitwan Valley Family Study (CVFS), a 20?year ongoing panel study of 116 schools with 3,000 households with 3,500 school aged children in 151 com?mun?ities located throughout the Western Chitwan Valley of Nepal. With funding from DFID-ESRC, we are proposing to achieve two aims:
Aim One: To Develop and Pretest a Suite of Nepali Accountability Assessment Tools (NAATs) for Use by the MOE and to Pilot these Tools within the Chitwan Valley of Nepal. Importantly, the tools will be designed so that Nepal?s MOE can both assess and potentially improve its current accountability processes at multiple levels of the increasingly decentralized Nepalese education system [4].
To achieve this aim we will: (1) develop a variety of accountability assessment tools for use in Nepal?s education system; (2) modify a set of instructional processes and instructional quality measures developed for use in OECD countries for use in the Nepali educational system; and (3) gather data on students? academic achievement using standardized test items developed by Nepal?s MOE.
Aim Two: To Investigate How Accountability Processes; Environments for Student Learning in Schools, Families, and Communities; and Student Learning are Related. This involves investigating three main research questions: Are accountability processes systematically related to socioeconomic disparities among communities, schools within communities, and families within schools? In school and community settings where accountability processes are more intensive, is the quality of instructional service delivery higher? And, controlling for socioeconomic disparities related to student achievement is student learning higher in schools and communities where accountability processes are more intensive?
To meet this aim, we will: (1) administer a newly designed PET-QSDS survey to 380 key stakeholders; (2) administer the NASA test at the beginning and end of the school year and a student survey to 1,740 8th graders; and (3) administer a teacher survey to 1,392 teachers and a parent survey to 1,740 parents. The results of this research will be relevant to education policy makers in Nepal and will also contribute directly to comparative education research on school effectiveness.
This study will generate rigorous scientific outcomes: (1) development of a low income context adaptive accountability assessment tool; (2) cross-cultural assessment of the reliability and predictive validity of accountability measures; (3) identification of contextual factors with strong correlation with accountability; (4) potential for identification of new dimensions of accountability in low income settings; and (5) scientific advancement in our understanding of the relationship between accountability, instructional quality and students? gains in achievement. These outcomes will be made widely available to scientists and policy makers. First, we will conduct dissemination workshops at local and national levels to share findings of the study and provide training on the use of the newly designed accountability assessment tool and analysis of the data generated through the various surveys mentioned above. Second, the data will be made available through ICPSR and the UK Data Service. Third, the findings will be disseminated through presentations at national and international conferences and published in scientific articles, and research and policy briefs. Finally, the participation of Nepali faculty, scientists, government representatives and school authorities throughout the project will advance the scientific and analytical capacity of their respective host institutions (DOE,TU, PABSON, PDs).