23 SES 01 B, Policies and Practices of Performativity and Assessment (Part 1)
Paper Session to be continued in 23 SES 02 B
Having failed to achieve many of the democratic challenges of education, which were posed with urgency to the Portuguese society after the revolution of April 1974, the educational system began to move, in the last two decades, towards more (re)meritocratic and performative logics. The more recent pressure for the introduction of new mechanisms of accountability in the education system is in line with the introduction of partial forms of accountability (Afonso, 2014), resulting mainly from the implementation of national exams and standardised tests, and the correlative scrutiny that stems from the publication of rankings based on the results obtained in these tests.
If the impact of the rankings in itself contained publicity elements of the performance of schools in the external plan (national, regional and local), it was, however, also necessary to highlight the academic performance of students at the internal and local level. The ritualisation of the school excellence of students is now an institutional marketing strategy, considered an important part in attracting the best students, against a backdrop of sharp demographic decline of the Portuguese school age population. The place of the school in the rankings, the boards and the rituals of academic distinction of the best students, and the placement of these students in socially more prestigious higher education courses emerge as the most consistent indicators for the promotion of the social image of the school institution, all this having school results as a common denominator.
From the 1980s, academic excellence has become a recurring theme in political discourses on education, assuming an increasing importance when associated with the concerns relating to the quality, competitiveness, merit and effectiveness of the educational system. At the European level, the priority tended to focus on the development of competitive educational systems, regulated by the economic interests and needs of the market and by forms of effective governance and consistent performance (Ball, 2000; Ward, 2012). In the political orientations mainly supported by certain sectors of the ruling classes and the middle classes, the political emphasis placed on the production of educational outcomes was accompanied by the pressure for the reconfiguration of the mission of state schools, progressively more hostage of individual performance and accountability based on the publication of evaluation results and standardised tests (meritocratic mandate) and less involved in the consolidation of the democratisation of school processes (democratic mandate).
As some countries have embarked on the combat to school failure and dropout, the demands placed on the production of academic excellence were intensified, in a clear adherence to the cult of a particular meritocracy (McNamee & Miller, 2004; Dench, Ed., 2006). Studies on the meaning of merit and the role of schools in its construction multiplied, arriving at different positions regarding the centrality of the meritocratic ideology in the processes of education regulation (Daverne & Ducterq, 2008; Duru-Bellat, 2009; Michaud, 2009; Dutercq & Daverne, 2009; Tenret, 2011; Daverne & Dutercq, 2013). On the other hand, the debate expands internationally in order to assess the effects of this agenda in the elitisation processes of education (Van Zanten, Ball & Darchy-Koechlin, eds., 2015; Maxwell & Aggleton, 2016; Blackmore, 2016). Inserted in this broader framework, the Portuguese teaching system presents some difficulties in reconciling the mandates that are now required to it.
The development of institutional marketing strategies from the perspective of school principals, the reasons inherent to the choice of school by the students and its framing in the policies conducive to the valuation of merit, are reflective dimensions that guided this text on the issue of accountability in education.
Afonso, A. J. (2014). The emergence of accountability in the Portuguese education system. European Journal of Curriculum Studies, 1(2), 125-132. Ball, S. (2000). Performativities and fabrications in the education economy: Towards the performative society? Australian Educational Researcher, 27(2), 1-23. Blackmore, P. (2016). Prestige in academic life. Excellence and exclusion. London and New York: Routledge. Daverne, C. & Dutercq, Y. (2008). L'implication des responsables d'établissement dans la formation scolaire des élites. Education et Sociétés, 1(21), 33-47. DOI 10.3917/es.021.0033 Daverne, C. & Dutercq, Y. (2013). Les bons élèves. Expériences et cadres de formation. Paris: PUF. Dench, G. (Ed.) (2006). The rise and rise of meritocracy. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. Duru-Bellat, M. (2009). Le mérite contre la justice. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po. Dutercq, Y. & Daverne, C. (2009). Les parcours composites de l'élite lycéenne. Comment se préparer pour un monde incertain? Les Sciences de l'Éducation - Pour l'Ère nouvelle, 4(42), 17-37. DOI 10.3917/lsdle.424.0017 McNamee, S. & Miller Jr., R. (2004). The meritocracy myth. Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. Maxwell, C. & Aggleton, P. (Eds.) (2016). Elite education. International perspectives. London & New York: Routledge. Michaud, Y.s (2009). Qu’est-ce que le mérite? Paris: Bourin Éditeur. Palhares, J. A. (2014). A excelência académica na escola pública. Quotidianos escolares e não escolares de jovens enquanto alunos. In L. L. Torres & J. A. Palhares (2014) (Orgs.), Entre mais e melhor escola em democracia. A inclusão e a excelência no sistema educativo português (pp. 5-26). Lisboa: Mundos Sociais. Palhares, J. A. & Torres, L. L. (2015). School governance and academic excellence: The representations of distinguished students in an annual award of excellence. Journal of Educational, Cultural and Psychological Studies (ECPS), 11, pp. 277-292. Doi: 10.7358/ecps-2015-011-palh Tenret, É. (2011). L’école et la méritocratie. Représentations sociales et socialisation scolaire. Paris: PUF. Torres, L. L. (2015). Culturas de escola e celebração da excelência: Cartografia das distinções em Portugal. Educação e Pesquisa (São Paulo, FE/USP), 41, Número especial, 1419-1438. Ward, S. C. (2012). Neoliberalism and the global restructuring of knowledge and education. New York and London: Routledge. Van Zanten, A., Ball, S. & Darchy-Koechlin, B. (Eds.) (2015), Elites, privilege and excellence. The national and global redefinition of educational advantage. New York and London: Routledge.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.