23 SES 06 A, Mediatization in New Regimes of Education Governance
This paper is about how ranking lists of schools appear in media, and how the international student assessment surveys are used to produce particular media representations of Swedish and Australian schools. In both Sweden and Australia we have a situation where the international student assessment surveys such as PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS with their performance indicators are embedded in a highly competitive context. The media representations of international and national comparisons of schools is a highly influential practice as it has the potential of playing an important part in national educational politics and policy making (cf. Gewirtz et al. 2004; Rawolle & Lingard, 2004). As stated by Lindblad (2008) this is not a ‘soft governing’ practice. Given this it is crucial to adopt a critical stance and to analyse how this influential media ‘machinery’ is representing the educational context, and for what purposes.
The aim of the paper is to analyse how the results and the ranking from the PISA-test (Programme for International Student Assessment) are discussed in media. We analyse the content of the articles, and also the construction of the articles and the framing of the consequent debates as rhetorical strategies. In other words, we are interested in the rhetorical tools that are used to produce certain media representations of the school. Thus, the construction of the articles are at the centre in our analyses. A point of departure is that the atmosphere and context of ranking creates an environment and a set of ’practice architectures’ (Kemmis and Grootenboer, 2008, Kemmis et al, 2014) that excludes other ways of discussing and seeing education.
The specific research questions addressed in this paper are
- How are the results from international and international student assessment surveys reported on?
- What rhetorical strategies can be identified in the articles?
- What wider political and educational problems are the articles addressing?
The framework of ‘practice architectures’ provides a way of understanding the cultural-discursive framing of the representations, that make up the mediatisation of education and schooling.
Our questions are located within the superordinate framework defined by praxis. The superior question is about how the representations of the Swedish and Austalian schools deals with education as an ethical and moral practice: i.e. as morally informed actions for the good of humankind (Kemmis & Smith, 2008).
Gewirtz, S., Dickson, M. & Power, S. (2004). Unravelling a ‘spun’ policy: a case study of the constitutive role of ‘spin’ in the education policy process, Journal of Education Policy, 19:3, 321-342. Lindblad, S. (2008). Navigating in the Field of University Positioning: on international ranking lists, qyality indicators and higher education governing, European Educational Research Journal vol:7 iss:4 pp. 438-450. Kemmis, S. & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situating praxis in practice: Practice architectures and the cultural, social and material conditions for practice. In S. Kemmis and T.J. Smith, (eds.). Enabling praxis: Challenges for education, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. pp. 37-62. Kemmis and T.J. Smith, (eds.). Enabling praxis: Challenges for education, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing practices, changing education. Singapore: Springer. Lingard, B & Rawolle, S. (2004) Mediatizing educational policy: the journalistic field, science policy, and cross-field effects. Journal of Education Policy, Vol. 19, No.3, May 2004, pp. 361-380.
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