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Rich Accountabilities: Moving Beyond "Datafication" Open Access


Other title
Adaptive Capacity
Broader measures of school success
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Stiles, Penelope J.
Supervisor and department
Jim Parsons (Department of Secondary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Jim Parsons (Department of Secondary Education)
David Chorney (Department of Secondary Education)
Matt Hoven (St. Joseph's College)
Bonita Watt (Department of Secondary Education)
Department of Secondary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
2016-06:Fall 2016
Master of Education
Degree level
Abstract: The predominant focus on grades, graduation rates, and other instrumental indicators of school performance can prevent educators from focusing on excellence through equity, particularly as this refocus relates to reconsidering assumed indicators of student engagement. This thesis explores how enhancing the adaptive capacity of a school serves as an equitable and effective way to measure a school’s success rather than the accountability practices that currently exist in Alberta. This thesis further explores the question: “How can a commitment to equity as a path to student engagement contribute to the adaptive capacity of a school?” This study will attempt to broaden how the value of education is measured for students by focusing on narratives that showcase the work of one school—Jasper Place High School, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada—as it worked to address a more fulsome education for its school community, including students, parents, and teachers. To do this work, the idea of a “ResponseAbility Lab” was offered as a set of protocols and a vehicle for our school to test the belief that it can and should evaluate how we nurture students' abilities to learn and thrive in the context of the growing complexity and volatility of their lives, communities and global context. This analysis describes how three key engaged commitments can be transformative in ways that help a school community reflect more deeply on its values; gather and critically examine information about varied perceptions about the experience of learning and life in the school; and act in responsive ways to create an entire community of more engaged learning. Moving through and past the inertia of not knowing and not wanting to know offers hope and possibility for creating “rich accountabilities” (Sellar , 2014, 2015; Alberta Teachers’ Association, 2015c) that sustain the work of schools committed to equity as a path to student engagement.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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