17 SES 07, Paper Session
Ever since its inception in 1961 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has made a link between education and economic concerns (Bürgi 2016; OECD 1961; Tröhler 2014; Ydesen & Grek 2018). This link must be viewed in light of the context of the cold war in general and the so-called Sputnik chock in 1957 in particular. Education came to be viewed as a production factor with the potential of contributing positively to nations’ gross domestic product. Simultaneously came also increasing concerns about the efficiency and accountability of education systems. Thus, the educational sphere started to become influenced by other concerns than pedagogy, didactics, educational ideals and nation-building which had hitherto dominated education in many countries.
A core development on the OECD-driven path of increased accountability of education systems was the establishment of the International Indicators and Evaluation of Educational Systems (INES) programme; a precursor of the contemporary Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The INES programme was a direct offshoot of the 1983 report of the US National Commission on Excellence in Education entitled “A Nation at risk: The Imperative of Educational Reform.” The Reagan administration urged the OECD to improve the international indicators of education making transnational comparisons more reliable and valid. The OECD soon after called for establishing a ’New Dialogue Between Education and the Economy’ leading to precisely the development (via CERI, the Centre for Educational Research and Innovation) of outcome indicators for education, as a basis for international comparisons and increased accountability (OECD 1989).
It is the purpose of this paper to historically and comparatively investigate the role and importance of selected OECD policy initiatives and programmes in terms of impact on selected member-states’ accountability policies in education. The main programme to be treated is the INES programme and the member-states selected are Denmark and Australia. From this analytical platform the paper points out some recurring characteristics of OECD-driven accountability policies in education and raises a discussion of the implications in terms of establishing an ‘intelligent accountability’ system, as argued by Onora O’Neill (2013). In that sense the article follows the argument of Daniel Tröhler when he says that what happened around the time of the end of the Cold War is intriguing and decisive for today’s educational policy in the world (Tröhler 2010).
The paper will be based on archival material from the OECD archive in Paris as well as the national archives of Denmark and Australia.
I expect to conclude that the OECD has a longer history of exercising impact on education in general and accountability in particular than what has been found hitherto.
Addey, C., Sellar, S., Steiner-Khamsi, G., Lingard, B., & Verger, A. (2017). The rise of international large-scale assessments and rationales for participation. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 47(3), 434-452. https://doi.org/10.1080/03057925.2017.1301399 Bürgi, R. (2016). Systemic management of schools: the OECD's professionalisation and dissemination of output governance in the 1960s. Paedagogica Historica, 52(4), 408-422. https://doi.org/10.1080/00309230.2016.1178780 Carroll, P. G. H., & Kellow, A. J. (2011). The OECD: a study of organisational adaptation. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar. OECD (1989) Education and the Economy in a Changing Society, OECD: Paris Mahon, R., & McBride, S. (2009). The OECD and Transnational Governance. UBC Press. Martens, K. (2007) How to Become an Influential Actor - the 'Comparative Turn' in OECD Education Policy, in Kerstin Martens, Alessandra Rusconi, and Kathrin Leuze (eds.), New Arenas of Education Governance - The Impact of International Organizations and Markets on Education Policy Making, London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 40-56. OECD (1961) Policy Conference on Economic Growth and Investment in Education: Washington, 16th-20th October 1961, Paris: OECD Publishing O'Neill, O. (2013). Intelligent accountability in education. Oxford Review of Education, 39(1), pp. 4-16. Resnik, J. (2006). International Organizations, the "Education-Economic Growth" Black Box, and the Development of World Education Culture. Comparative Education Review, 50(2), 173-195. https://doi.org/10.1086/500692 Rizvi, F., & Lingard, B. (2010). Globalizing education policy. London ; New York, NY: Routledge. Schmelzer, M. (2016). The hegemony of growth: the OECD and the making of the economic growth paradigm. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Stobart, G. (2008). Testing times: the uses and abuses of assessment. London ; New York: Routledge. Tröhler, Daniel (2014) "Change Management in the Governance of Schooling: The Rise of Experts, Planners, and Statistics in the Early OECD", Teachers College Record, vol. 116, pp. 1-26. Tröhler, D. (2015). The medicalization of current educational research and its effects on education policy and school reforms. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 36(5), 749-764. https://doi.org/10.1080/01596306.2014.942957 Ydesen, C. & Grek, S. (2018) Securing Organisational Survival - a historical inquiry into the configurations and positions of the OECD's work in education during the 1960s, Paedagogica Historica (under publication)
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
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