28 SES 06 A, Transnational Knowledge Networks and Policy Coalitions: Social network analyses of the 2014 Danish and the 2016 Norwegian school reform
The Danish school reform went into effect in school year 2014/15 and covers the Folkeskole, that is, compulsory education for 6 to 16 year olds. Policies were issued at the national level leading to a formulation of national goals, laws on public education, and standardized tests. Even though the reform was very much home-spun, there clearly was a great interest in lesson-drawing from experiences in other countries. Unsurprisingly the receptiveness towards reforms in other countries became therefore an object of academic curiosity and in-depth study in the social network analysis, presented in the paper. The Danish study was carried out by Katja Brøgger, Oren Pizmony-Levy, Dorthe Staunæs, and Gita Steiner-Khamsi in 2015 and 2016. Marie Lund Hansen, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, helped the research team with data entry. This SNA study provides a citation analysis of the 2014 educational reform in Denmark by using documents produced by key policy actors as source data. We used two approaches to identify key policy actors and their publications. First, we used publicly available information from the stakeholder review process in Denmark (also referred to as "hearing"). We choose to label these Danish experts "backstage advisors" of the government. We purposefully included a wide variety of such “backstage advisors,” including experts that work in the government organizations, academe, the private sector, or in independent think tanks. In total, the dataset includes 47 source documents representing 24 organizations. A total of 723 references were entered into the dataset. The references were coded and an attribute file with three variables was created: (i) year of publication, (ii) publisher or institutional affiliation of the author/authoring organization, and (iii) location. Assisted by theories (cf. Steiner-Khamsi, 2012), and SNA (cf. Wasserman & Faust, 1994), we identified three central knowledge networks or policy coalitions around the following themes: (i) students’ wellbeing (dominated by Danish authors), (ii) teacher effectiveness, and (iii) instructional leadership. At closer examination, the Danish authors or organizations which have contributed to the school reform debate, make use of international texts in three distinct ways: (i) to establish credibility, (ii) to generate reform pressure, or (iii) to claim that local agendas comply with international standards or “best practices.” In particular, the study enabled us to differentiate between international knowledge that serve “crisis generation” (2004 OECD study) versus those that are “solution oriented” (Hattie, 2008).
Hattie, J. (2008). Visible learning. A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Routledge. OECD. (2004). Education Policy Outlook. Retrieved from https://www.oecd.org/edu/EDUCATION%20POLICY%20OUTLOOK%20DENMARK_EN.pdf Steiner-Khamsi, G. (2012). Understanding Policy Borrowing and Lending. Building Comparative Policy Studies. In G. Steiner-Khamsi & F. Waldow (Eds.), Policy borrowing and lending in education (Vol. 2012, pp. 3-17). London: Nichols. Wasserman, S., & Faust, K. (1994). Social network analysis: Methods and applications (Vol. 8): Cambridge university press.
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