Accountability and Mandatory Testing in Germany: How do Teachers use Performance Feedback Data? - The German federal states implemented bureaucratic accountability systems and mandatory testing which aim at self-evaluation and school improvement. This paper investigates how teachers respond to mandatory testing and how they use performance feedback data for instructional improvements. In a qualitative study, 18 teachers in 9 secondary schools were interviewed. The site of the study was Thuringia, one of the German states where schools get elaborated feedback information based on competency modeling and school performance data which are controlled for socio-economic factors. Teacher statements on feedback data usage were classified as either instrumental, conceptual, convincing, strategic or non-use. Qualitative content analysis revealed that strategic or unintended consequences of mandatory testing are less grave than in countries with high-stakes testing. On the other hand, instrumental and conceptual use of feedback data occurs in German schools, but the examples show that it is questionable if mandatory testing can deeply influence teaching strategies.
Keywords: Educational accountability, mandatory testing, school performance feedback, qualitative content analysis, teacher interview.