28 SES 08 B, The Normativity of Schooling
For over a decade, citizenship education (CE) as part of formal schooling has become a priority for educational researchers and policymakers throughout Europe, as a response to a sense of crisis in our democratic societies. Through CE, young people are expected to become equipped with the right set of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes for their active national and European citizenship. Not unlike other curricular subjects such as math, sciences, etc., comparative, standardised research is considered the main evidence base for both national and supra- or transnational (EU) CE policy and practices. The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS), organized in both 2009 and 2016, is seen to offer the most extensive and up-to-date information on CE practices and outcomes, by measuring and comparing them across countries.
Through its production of knowledge about CE, ICCS is seen by both its designers and policymakers to be able to boost the quality and effectiveness of CE policy and practices. ICCS therefore embodies a shift in the relation between the production of data and knowledge and educational policy, in which knowledge and expertise are now determining, or even becoming, policy (Grek, 2009). ICCS, similar to other comparative educational studies, has sparked extensive secondary research and debate in both policy and academics. Broadly speaking, we identify two strands in this secondary research: empirical and critical studies. The majority of empirical studies focuses on secondary analysis of ICCS data, specific relations between variables or indicators and student CE outcomes, or connecting them to specific national contexts. Critical studies tend to focus more on how studies like ICCS steer national educational policies towards what ‘works’(Ioannidou, 2007) and function as a political tool (Nó' voa & Yariv-Mashal, 2003), or on critical analysis of its methodology, effects (Olson, 2012), and theoretical framework (Zurstrassen, 2011)
In both the ICCS study and secondary empirical and critical research alike, extensive attention is being paid to the concepts and operationalisations used and measured. Very seldom however, the underlying question if what is measured reflects what is valued about CE, is addressed. This paper therefore focuses on what is valued and measured as the goals and aims of CE. By doing this, we aim to reconcile the empirical and critical approaches to ICCS, by combining them in a profound analysis of it normativity. Our point of departure is the question how what is measured in ICCS reflects what is seen as good CE, and as its aims and purposes. What kind of citizens does ICCS propose our children and young people should become?
The framework from which this paper departs is based on Gert Biestas concept of normative validity (2009): the question whether educational research (in our case the ICCS study of 2009) measures what is valued as the goals and purposes of education, or instead measures what can be measured about education, and ends up valuing what is measured (Biesta, 2009). In order to address questions about good education, Biesta argues we should depart from what he, based on the work of Klaus Mollenhauer, identifies as its three functions (Biesta, 2009 & Biesta, 2011):
•Qualification: providing young people with the knowledge, skills, understandings, dispositions and forms of judgement that allow someone to do/be something.
•Socialisation: ways of becoming member and part of particular social, cultural and political ‘orders’, the transmission of norms and values, bringing young people into existing ways of knowing and doing
•Subjectification: Becoming a (political) subject, ways of becoming autonomous and independent from the socio-political order, process through which new ways of being and doing as a unique subject can come into existence.
Biesta, G. (2009). Good education in an age of measurement: on the need to reconnect with the question of purpose in education. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 21(1), 33–46. Biesta, G. (2011). Theorising Civic Learning: Socialisation, Subjectification and the Ignorant Citizen. In Learning Democracy in School and Society: Education, Lifelong Learning, and the Politics of Citizenship (pp.85-99). Rotterdam: SensePublishers. Fraillon, J. & Schulz, W. (2008). Concept and design of the International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (Presentation Paper, 2008-03). https://iccs.acer.edu.au-/files/ICCS-Concept--Design-Paper(AERA2008).pdf. Graham, C. & Neu, D. (2004). Standardized testing and the construction of governable persons. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 36(3), 295-319. Grek, S. (2013). Expert moves: international comparative testing and the rise of expertocracy. Journal of Education Policy, 28(5), 695-709. Ioannidou, A. (2007). A Comparative Analysis of New Governance in the Transnational Educational Space: a shift to knowledge-based instruments? European Educational Research Journal, 6(4), 336–347. Mason, T. C., & Delandshere, G. (2010). Citizens not research subjects: toward a more democratic civic education inquiry methodology. Interamerican Journal of Education for Democracy, 3(1), 6–26. No’ Voa, A. ’nio, & Yariv-Mashal, T. (2003). Comparative Research in Education: a mode of governance or a historical journey? Comparative Education, 39(4), 423–438. Schulz, W., Ainley, J., Fraillon, J., Kerr, D., & Losito, B. (2010). ICCS 2009 International Report: Civic knowledge, attitudes, and engagement among lower-secondary school students in 38 countries. Schulz, W., Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Losito, B., & Kerr, D. (2008). International Civic and Citizenship Education Study: Assessment framework. IEA. Amsterdam. Zurstrassen, B. (2011). A sceptical look at the quantitative education research in civic and citizenship education. Journal of Social Science Education, 10(3), 6-15.
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