This paper analyses how teachers respond to requests for change in their pedagogical practices in the context of accountability policy in Quebec (Canada). Over the past 15 years, Quebec has introduced Results-Based Management (RBM), a policy that puts in place new planning and contractualization tools, as well as statistical tools that make (academic) results visible and establish performance targets. RBM involves changing teachers’ practices to make them more “effective” to contribute to achieving ministerial policy objectives (e.g. improving graduation rates, reducing school drop-out rates). Using the typology of responses to educational policies developed by Cynthia Coburn (2004), the paper draws on qualitative data (semi-structured interviews in four secondary schools) and shows that the most frequent responses are rejection and accommodation, but also renunciation of certain desired practices which are “prevented” by the implementation of RBM. The responses vary according to the practices concerned by the institutional demands but also according to the context of the school and the various strategies and configurations of actors.
Revista de Sociología de la Educación (RASE),10(3), 539-557