October 2016 Non-fiction ACER Press

The Autonomy Premium: Professional Autonomy and Student Achievement in the 21st Century Brian J. Caldwell

The Autonomy Premium is a concise response to the popular and often loosely defined debate about whether higher levels of student achievement may flow from autonomy in school management and professional practice. Drawing on over 40 years of research Brian J Caldwell examines a series of compelling questions that bring the reader through the key pillars of autonomy-related studies. These include: 

• Why are there mixed results in research into links between school autonomy and student achievement? 

• What do more autonomous schools actually do to make gains in student achievement? 

• Is professional autonomy the key driver for improvement? 

Through the lens of case studies in Australian public schools with support for autonomy across levels of government, the book focuses on research where the links to learning improvement have been mapped. In addition to a capacity for local decision-making for school improvement, the findings highlight local discretion in curriculum, personnel, pedagogy and resources. Professional autonomy trumps structural autonomy. 

The Autonomy Premium is essential reading for anyone with an interest in understanding the policy and practice of designing drivers that can shape successful school autonomy.