The search for teacher standards: a nationwide experiment in the Netherlands

Storey, Anne (2006). The search for teacher standards: a nationwide experiment in the Netherlands. Journal of Education Policy, 21(2) pp. 215–234.



In recent years there has been an enormous amount of emphasis, worldwide, seeking to construct and monitor teacher and pupil standards. This has arguably been the main thrust of educational policy for many Governments. Educational critics have been vociferous in voicing their dissent. But where does the debate proceed from here? The purpose of this article is to use a new nationwide experiment in the Netherlands in order to explore the relative merits of different approaches. Richard Elmore, the public policy analyst, has proposed 'backward mapping' as a viable alternative to what he suggests have been the failed attempts at 'forward mapping'. This article seeks to apply his ideas to the educational policy domain. The Netherlands provides an ideal laboratory setting because its Government has accepted that its erstwhile approaches (in the mode of forward mapping) have failed and it has made a conscious attempt to embark down a new path. The research reported here finds that this new approach has many advantages; but it is not without its dangers.

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