Department of Educational Administration


Date of this Version



Published in Policy Futures in Education 18:5 (2020), pp 574–596.

DOI: 10.1177/1478210319873767


Copyright © 2019 Taeyeon Kim. Published by SAGE Publications. Used by permission.


This paper argues that the ‘new governance’ narrative should be revised and modified to reflect context-specific details of the policy sector and styles of government. I discuss the modified network governance narrative, including how the theory of bureaucracy informs the function of network governance. I then apply it to analyze a case study of Korean educational assessment policy, specifically the National Assessment of Educational Achievement, as empirical evidence to support the claim. The case study revealed that central government was a major force in the policy development, and its bureaucratic power combined with soft and hard capital was strong. Responding to central government, opposing groups tried to change the policy by forming networks for collective action, utilizing the media and discovering flexibility within bureaucratic rules, which led to partial changes of the policy in the next regime. The study concludes with several remarks that contribute to policy analysis in education: (a) the usefulness of the modified network governance framework in analyzing policy; (b) bureaucratic structures as useful resources for stakeholders in policy; (c) educational and political beliefs as critical factors in forming and tightening networks; and (d) broader implications for understanding testing policy in Asian contexts.