Understanding the Stakes: The Influence of Accountability Policy Options on Teachers’ Responses

Antonina Levatino*, Lluís Parcerisa, Antoni Verger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Under test-based accountability, side-effects —including practices to inflate test results, often seen as cheating—are usually associated to so-called high-stakes policies. However, the influence of different types of stakes in the generation of this type of practices has been overlooked in education research. Based on a survey experiment, our results indicate that the type and level of stakes of accountability systems (e.g., high- vs. low-stakes, material vs. symbolic) do not differ in triggering side-effects. Counterintuitively, individual symbolic consequences trigger similar reactions among teachers than material incentives. In-depth interviews give insights into the social mechanisms that lead to symbolic effects having such an influence in understanding teachers’ reactivity to accountability.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages30
JournalEducational Policy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2023


  • Accountability policy options
  • Cheating
  • Side-effects
  • Standardized tests
  • Teacher reputation
  • Test-based accountability
  • Undesired responses


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