Trust, capacity and accountability: A triptych for improving learning outcomes

Ehren, Melanie and Baxter, Jacqueline (2021). Trust, capacity and accountability: A triptych for improving learning outcomes. In: Ehren, Melanie and Baxter, Jacqueline eds. Trust, Accountability and Capacity in Education System Reform. Global Perspectives in Comparative Education. London: Routledge, pp. 288–304.



This chapter examines the implications of three elements: trust, accountability and system capacity within the different contexts and cultures throughout this book, exploring how each influences learning outcomes at three levels throughout education systems: system level, organizational level and through interpersonal relations. Taking examples from three perspectives: the complementary perspective, the substitution perspective and the inverse perspective as a lens, the chapter illustrates, via examples from research which appears throughout the book, the ways in which a complementary perspective of trust and accountability can be established, and in so doing, capacitate to improve learning outcomes. We note, and refer to evidence throughout the book, that culture and context are important factors to consider when thinking of how to go about this, and that institutional embeddedness, political, social, legal and economic factors influence the extent to which this can be achieved. Finally, the chapter investigates the temporal and dynamic nature of accountability and trust and how changes over time influence the three variables. Concluding that, like a triptych, these factors must be considered together when planning any type of educational system reform.

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