Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Poster Paper: Exploring How School Directors Value, Use and Understand Simce Results in Chile's Metropolitan Region

Friday, November 13, 2015
Riverfront South/Central (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jorge Manzi1, Gabriel Gutierrez2, Francisca Bogolasky3, Paulo Volante1 and Valeska Grau1, (1)Universidad Católica de Chile, (2)University College London, (3)University of Texas, Austin
During the last years, Chile has implemented educational reforms which establish performance targets for schools and which evaluate schools based on the results of a national, census-based standardized performance test (SIMCE). However, and despite the central role this test has been given, there is no current evidence with respect to how school directors understand these results, how they use them in their decision-making processes or what value they give to these results as a relevant tool for their work.

We use a mixed methods approach to explore this issue. First, we applied a survey to a representative sample of school directors in Chile’s Metropolitan Region. The survey explores if school directors understand what the test is supposed to measure, if they know and understand their school’s previous results and trajectory and also the director’s capacity to analyze the results they get. It also explores the main uses that school directors give to the information they get from SIMCE. Finally, the survey explores if and how school directors value this information. To complement the survey results and analyze some of its findings with more depth, we interviewed a sample of the surveyed directors.

Our results suggest that although school directors value getting SIMCE results, they do not have accurate knowledge with respect to the main objectives of the test. We also identify that schools carry out various actions as a consequence of their results in the test. They include general pedagogical actions as well as the training of students for the test. We find low levels of knowledge of school directors with respect to their schools’ precise results and trajectories. Finally, we find that school directors consider that SIMCE results have a limited potential to support the teaching and learning processes in their schools.