Hegemony and "Accountability" in Schools and Universities

  • Sandra Mathison University of British Columbia
  • E. Wayne Ross


In this paper we will look specifically at the increased and increasing emphasis on accountability in schools and universities. Accountability has become the means of enforcement and control used by states and businesses. This is so since those who declare that schools and universities ought to be a certain way cannot themselves make schools and universities be that way. States and corporations can only demand that others remake schools and authority to carry out this mission is delegated, although not the authority to decide on the mission. The delegation takes the form of uniform outcome measures of productivity, e.g., scores on standardized tests or percentage of job placements, which provide evidence that the authority delegated to teachers or professors is being properly exercised. We will explore this hegemony of accountability, its origins, meanings, and consequences as it has developed in K-12 education and is spreading to higher education. We will conclude with two examples of counter-hegemonic accountability strategies.

Author Biography

Sandra Mathison, University of British Columbia


Faculty of Education