28 SES 03 A, Competences, Large Scale Assessments and Experts in the Globalization and Europeanization of Education
In recent decades, a number of different concepts have been orientating and building the processes of Europeanization and globalization in the educational field. One of the concepts that has emerged pervasively is the concept of competence. Steadily establishing itself over the last twenty years, the concept has travelled in various institutional, professional and cultural worlds, on a national, international and global scale. It became a global concept used to represent transformations in a world where the ideologies and collective values of modern society have lost trust and legitimacy. Even in EU documents, competencies are presented as “key assumptions” and are “taken for granted”, becoming the prescribed language for political training and life-long learning. The journey of competences has been a long one.
- They emerged as a device for managing human resources in companies and multinationals (during the nineties of the previous century). Management through competencies was, above all, promoted by major consulting businesses for companies which, during the nineties, had undergone transformations in their management of human resources, in favour of the management of human capital as a strategic resource.
- They emerged as a reference model for moving beyond a transmissive and disciplinary vision of knowledge in the educational field. In the last two decades, in many educational systems, both European and otherwise (for example, Canada and Finland, above all) modifications were introduced in favour of a curriculum based on competencies. Many nations are now moving in this direction, with Italy also recently showing a similar inclination.
- They have emerged (in the past three decades) as a device for European policies in the educational field - e.g. The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and Key Competencies in Europe. In this context, competencies become a relevant and significant soft regulation at a community level.
- They have recently established themselves as a discursive device in representations linked to educational needs and citizenship formulated by international agencies at a global level, such as UNESCO and the World Economic Forum. Competencies in the two models – in different and, to some extent, opposite ways – are assumed as a response in educational processes to the challenges of economic globalization, becoming global representations in themselves. In the UNESCO model, competencies are used in the context of the inclusion of differences; while in the World Economic Forum, competencies are presented as an individual resource for challenging collective and global competition as an element of social cohesion.
- They are absorbed and translated into instruments of assessment in major surveys typical of “large scale assessments”, such as those of the OECD (PISA and PIACC) and the IEA (PIRLS, TIMMS, ICCS).
Competencies therefore become a global concept that assemble different – and at times opposing – ideas that come from different cultural actors and institutional agencies on a national, European and global scale, and which often follow a different logic. Competencies become: an all-purpose term that is supposed to allow people to speak a kind of universal language with regard to educational and training needs at a global level; a macro-framework that, on the one hand, indicates an inclusive logic (factors such as equity as a “minimum threshold”) while, on the other hand, allow a logic of competition to emerge (between individuals and between nations). This paper intend to investigate competencies as a global concept, analysing the models that emerge on a global, European and national scale, and goes on to verify – for the most important models – the underlying logic in cultural, theoretical and methodological terms. The paper aims also to develop a critical reflection as to why and how competencies have become a form of rhetorical alignment and universal language for the future of education and training.
Competencies will be analysed as: - Transcultural artefacts: they are presented both as a cultural instrument of inclusion, as well as of a neutralizing of differences. Competencies are presented as a model that can be adapted to all cultures and national systems. - A post-academic and post-disciplinary device: they are analysed by national and transnational agencies (public and private) with the aim of overcoming the logic of disciplinary knowledge and the transmission of knowledge to youths and adults who live in in systems and models of transnational mobility where competencies become a formal device of individual recognition. - A normative, linguistic and conceptual device of ordering according to global and transnational logic (the outcome of isomorphic standardization operated on a global scale of different national traditions). - A substitute of social theory that neutralizes differences and conflicts within and between cultural and social systems, in a logic of value alignment/integration that locates them as uniform ordering principles with respect to the heterogeneity of national education systems. From a methodological point of view, a number of models of the representation of competencies on different scales (global, European and national) will be analysed in order to identify similarities and differences, cultural concepts and specific and transversal significances. - Some global models, in particular those of UNESCO and the World Economic Forum. - Some of the more widespread European models, on the level of policy indicators in particular: the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) and Key Competences in Europe. - Some national models using competencies in education curricula, with particular reference to Finland, Italy and Canada - we will examine how competences are absorbed in the logic of OECD and IEA surveys, focusing attention on the reciprocal relationship between representations/discourses, formalization and their translation into empirical instruments. From a methodological point of view, an analysis will be made of institutional documentation that has contributed to soft regulation and conceptual isomorphism, to the extent of being added to abstract idealized models, yet ones with strong practical consequences. An analysis will also be made of competency models on the basis of large scale assessment surveys (PISA and PIACC), from the point of view of the conceptualization, operationalization and standardized measuring of competencies. Finally, an analysis will be made of how competencies produce consequences in national curriculum.
The paper aims to investigate the various representations of the global concept of competencies on a national, European and global scale, and intends to propose a critical reading of the concept that, on the one hand, is presented as a global instrument of social and cultural inclusion in the fields of education, professional practice and citizenship, while, on the other hand, is presented as a uniform normative and ordering device. Alongside this work of reconstruction, it will proceed to identify the positions assumed by the various European and global “key players”, for whom the concept of competence is linked to processes of assessment, evaluation, employability and citizenship . With regard to the national plane, it will examine how curricula are “challenged” by the issue of competences, producing adaptive or innovative responses.
- Biesta, G. (2014), Pragmatising the curriculum: Bringing knowledge back into the curriculum conversation, but via pragmatism. Curriculum Journal, 25(1), 29-49. - Boyatzis, R. E. (2008), Competencies in the 21st century. Journal of management development, 27(1), 5-12. - Crahay, M. (2006), Dangers, incertitudes et incomplétude de la logique de la compétence en éducation. Revue française de pédagogie. Recherches en éducation, (154), 97-110. - Cresswell, J., Schwantner, U. e Waters, C. 2015 A Review of International Large-Scale Assessments in Education. Assessing Component Skills and Collecting Contextual Data, Washington (DC)-Paris, The World Bank/OECD Publishing. - Duru-Bellat, M. (2015), Les compétences non académiques en question. Formation emploi, (2), 13-29. - European Council (2006), Recommendation of the European Parliament and the Council of 18 December 2006 on key competencies for lifelong learning, Brussels. - European Council (2016), Competences for Democratic Culture. Living Together as Equals in Culturally Diverse Democratic Societies, Strasbourg, Council of Europe Publishing. - Gherardi, S. (1998), Competence the symbolic passe-partout to change in a learning organization. Scandinavian Journal of Management, 14(4), 373-393. - Hanushek, E.A. e Woessmann, L. 2008 The Role of Cognitive Skills in Economic Development, in «Journal of Economic Literature», vol. 46, n. 3, September, pp. 607-668. - Jonnaert, Ph. 2009 Compétences et socioconstructivisme. Un cadre théorique, Bruxelles, De Boeck. - Kautz, T., Heckman, J.J., Diris, R., Weel Bas, T. e Borghans, L. 2014 Fostering and Measuring Skills: Improving Cognitive and Non-cognitive Skills to Promote Lifetime Success, OECD Education Working Papers n. 110, Paris, OECD Publishing. - Le Boterf, G. (2008) Repenser la compétence. Pour dépasser les idées reçues: quinze propositions, Paris, Eyrolles. - Marope, M., Griffin, P. e Gallagher, C. 2017 Future Competences and the Future of Curriculum. A Global Reference for Curricula Transformation, Paris, IBE-UNESCO. - OECD (2015), Skills for Social Progress: The Power of Social and Emotional Skills, in «OECD Skills Studies», Paris - OECD PISA (2009), Assessment Framework. Key Competencies in Reading, Mathematics and Science, Paris. - Perrenoud, P. (2018), Construire des compétences dès l'école. ESF Sciences Humaines. - Priestley, M. e Biesta, G. (2013), Capacities and competences, in M. Priestley e G. Biesta (eds.), Reinventing the Curriculum. New Trends in Curriculum Policy and Practice, London, Bloomsbury Academic - UNESCO (2016), A Conceptual Framework for Competencies Assessment, Paris, IBE-UNESCO. - Young, M. (2008), From Constructivism to Realism in the Sociology of the Curriculum, in «Review of Research in Education», vol. 32, n. 1, pp. 1-28.
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.