Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Education


School of Education


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Supervisor

Alistair McIntosh


Western Australian primary schools have responded to the Education Department's call for school accountability in many areas of the school accountability. This study focuses on the endeavours that schools have made to demonstrate their accountability in the subject area of Mathematics. The document "Improving and Reporting Schools' Performance" was made available to all state primary schools at the beginning of the 1996 school year as part of the Student Outcome Statement package. However, only a small number of primary schools have used the Student Outcome Statements in Mathematics in the National Professional Development Program trial conducted by the Commonwealth Department of Employment, Education and Training and supported by the Education Department of Western Australia during 1994 and /995. A few other schools have used the Student Outcome Statements in Mathematics as part of their own school development program. Part of this study tries to identify whether the differences between how the pilot (NDPD trial) schools, those schools which are using the Student Outcome Statements but were not pilot schools, and schools which have not used the Student Outcome Statements at all, have responded to the call for accountability in the area of mathematics. The study also investigated whether there were differences between country and city schools, and whether the size of the school or the presence of a specialist mathematics teacher affected the schools' responses to accountability. A questionnaire was sent to one hundred randomly selected schools and to all eleven schools who participated in the EDWA pilot study, asking the principal to identify the approaches that have been used to justify accountability and the methods used to assess the student in their school in the area of mathematics. The parties responsible within the school for making the decisions about how the school responded were investigated and how the school was informing the wider school community of any changes were also investigated. Three schools which seemed, from their responses to the questionnaire, to have approached accountability in innovative ways were approached and informal interviews were conducted to investigate further the methods of assessment and accountability and the processes that had been used within the school in the decision making process that had been undertaken. Differences were found, in the ways that schools assessed their students and responded to accountability, between the pilot and the non-pilot schools and between those that were using the Student Outcome Statements and those which were not.