28 SES 02 A, Europeanization of education: Different Perspectives
The paper addresses the topic of educational evaluation in the European Education Area, starting from the acknowledgement of the widespread of policies, measures, procedures and tools for school evaluation that has interested compulsory schooling in almost all the countries that belong to the European Area (Eurydice, 2015). What I argue for is the existence of a discourse on school evaluation which is global and particularly effective in the European Area. Such a discourse finds its distinctive traits in the recurrence of a set of discursive regularities. The analysis of these discursive regularities and their conditions of existence represents the specific object of this contribuion.
The paper is structured in two sections.
First, drawing on policy and official document (Eurydice, 2015; European Council, 2009; European Commission, 2012; OECD, 2013) I will show how the widespread of school evaluation is related to distinctive bodies of knowledge, forms of expertise and authority and a related ethico-political frame. Moreover, the paper will illustrate how such a grid of discursive regularities emerges within (and contributes to the constitution of) a multi-scalar transnational policyscape where a distinctive set of powerful and heterogeneous assemblages of agencies, bodies of knowledge and technologies perform the power to shape educational change in Europe. The bodies of knowledge constituting this space are the field of investigation of this paper, whereas the conditions of existence of these bodies of knowledge are the specific object of analysis.
Second, the paper explores in depth the discursive regularities that constitute a transnational discourse of school evaluation that shows a distinctive effectiveness in the European education area:
a) School Evaluation as part of a wider strategy of Quality Assurance in the field of education
b) the recursive emergence of an approach to school evaluation that is named as holistic approach
c) the recurrence of external and internal evaluation as an ordering dualism
d) the recursive emergence of evaluation models designed on the model of production
e) school effectiveness and improvement as the main theories that articulate the nexus between the scientific and the policy domain.
At this stage, the paper will address what Foucault has named the archaeological level of analysis and will focus on the conditions of existence for the social regularities that constitute the discourse of school evaluation. This means to understand what is the epistemic configuration of the space of knowledge where the heterogeneous statements on school evaluation confront each others and, eventually, struggle.
The analysis carried on in the paper employs Michel Foucault’s archaeological method (Foucault, 2002a; 2002b; Dreyfus and Rabinow, 1982; Gutting, 1989). In doing so it assumes as a privileged focus of analysis the formation of concepts. The analytical strategy employed in the paper has the objective to describe the organization of the field of statements in which evaluative concepts emerge and circulate (Foucault, 2002b, p. 62). This organisation is articulated through: a) forms of succession, that is different modalities of dispersion of series of statements (schemes of dependence, ordering and/or succession); b) forms of coexistence, that define the nature of the relations between recursive and widely used concepts in discourse; c) procedures of intervention, that are allowed to be legitimately applied on statements, among which it is worth to recall here those of translation, systematization, redefinition and rewriting. The analysis of concepts’ formation aims to determine according to what patterns the statements are linked to each others within a wider discourse that establishes between the concepts themselves forms of deduction, derivation, coherence, incompatibility, substitution, exclusion or reciprocal transformation (ivi, p. 68). The analytical strategy employed here is the following: a) to describe a conceptual network on the basis of the intrinsic regularities of the discursive practice; b) to reconstruct the grid of conceptual compatibilities and incompatibilities; c) to relate the emerging conceptual network to the distinctive rules of formation of a discursive practice.
The paper highlights how in the European Education Area it is possible to recognize the effectiveness of a discourse of school evaluation that: • has the project to establish itself, at different levels, a mathematical formalization; • proceeds through models and/or concepts translated from economy and biology; • explores some distinctive empirical manifestations of ‘that mode of being of man which philosophy is attempting to conceive at the level of radical finitude’ (Foucault, 2002a, p. 379). The paper will focus on the relevance of the conceptual transferences from economy in the constitution of the discourse of school evaluation. I will attempt to show how educational words, beings and objects of need take their places and arrange themselves in relation to one another in a space of knowledge that is heavily informed by the rise of production as a fundamental figure (ivi, p. 275), which in turn makes visible new objects and subjects that become knowable employing the concepts and methods of economy. The value of the analysis lies in two distinct traits. First, it goes beyond a mere critique of the contemporary obsession for evaluation, showing how and to what extent it is rooted in the deeper categories of Western thought and the processes of rationalization that are a key driver of modernity. It allows to focus on the domains within which truth and falsehood of any evaluative statement about education and its qualities is discussed, certain educational statements are excluded or marginalised as well as educational problems and their solutions are thought (and hierarchized) and enacted. Second, it represent a crucial step, although an initial and non sufficient one, to grasp the processes through which the objects, the subjects and the concepts of the education space are shaped and the social construction of actors’ answers to evaluation policies.
Dean, M., 2010. Governmentality. Power and rule in modern societies. 2nd edition. London: Sage. Dreyfus, H., Rabinow, P. (1982) (eds.) Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics, Chicago: Chicago University Press. Eurydice, (2015). Assuring Quality in Education: Policies and Approaches to School Evaluation in Europe. Eurydice Report. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. European Commission, (2012). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions Rethinking Education: Investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes. Strasbourg, 20.11.2012, COM(2012) 669. European Council, (2009). Conclusions of 12 May 2009 on a strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (‘ET 2020’), Bruxelles, (2009/C 119/02). Foucault, M., (1991). “Governmentality.” In The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality, edited by G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller, 73–86. London: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Foucault, M. (1997). Ethics: Subjectivity and Truth. Essential Works 1956-1984, Vol 1. (ed. Paul Rabinow). New York: New Press. Foucault, M. (1966). Les mots et les choses. Paris: Editions Gallimard. Consulted version: (2002a). The Order of Things. London: Routledge. Foucault, M. (1969). L’Archéologie du savoir. Paris: Editions Gallimard. Consulted version: (2002b). The Archaeology of Knowledge. London: Routledge. Gutting, G. (1989). Michel Foucault's archaeology of scientific reason: Science and the history of reason. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Miller, P., Rose, N. (2008). Governing the Present: Administering Economic, Social and Personal Life. Cambridge: Polity Press. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). (2013). Synergies for better learning: An international perspective on evaluation and assessment. Peters, M. A., Besley, A. C., Olssen, M. E. H., Maurer, S., & Weber, S. (2009). Governmentality Studies in Education. Rotterdam: Sense publishers. Popkewitz T.S. (1997) A changing terrain of knowledge and power: A social epistemology of educational research. Educational Researcher, 26(9): 18–29. Rose, N. (1999). Powers of freedom. Reframing Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
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.