Melanie Ehren is a Reader in Educational Accountability and Improvement at the UCL Institute of Education and head of the Centre for Educational Evaluation and Accountability. Professor Ehren’s work focuses on the effectiveness of accountability and evaluation systems and aims to contribute to a greater understanding of the interplay between accountability and the broader education system in tackling inequality and improving student outcomes. Her recent work includes EU comparative work on the
impact of school inspections on school improvement, the role of inspections and accountability in decentralized systems, and an ESRC-funded longitudinal study on the
interplay between trust, accountability and capacity in improving learning outcomes.
In this interview, part of the Lead the Change Series of the American Educational Research Association Educational Change Special Interest Group, Ehren shares her perspectives on the role of public education in the U.K. and elsewhere. Ehren also points to the role of accountability in educational change. As she puts it:
What we have learnt from our work on school accountability is that (shared) ownership of change and standards of quality education by those who work in and with schools, combined with a strong focus on changing what works in improving (a broad range of) learning outcomes, is the most successful strategy for long-lasting change. Such shared ownership is created through (national) conversations between policy-makers, administrators, teachers, parents, and students to define what constitutes good quality education…These types of conversations ensure that educators, children, and parents are part of setting the standard for change, are on board with these standards, and that trust is created within the education system to work collaboratively towards sustainable improvement of all schools and to identify and address key barriers in a system that might prevent such change.
This Lead the Change interview appears as part of a series that features experts from around the globe, highlights promising research and practice, and offers expert insight on small- and large-scale educational change. Recently Lead the Change has also interviewed Izhar Oplatka.