28 SES 13 B JS, Globalizing Test-Based Accountabilities in Education: Policy transfer and re-contextualization dynamics Part 2: Perspectives from Europe
Joint Symposium NW 23 and NW 28 contined from 28 SES 12 C JS
This paper outlines two analytical frameworks that shed light on how transnational influences and national assessment cultures shape national states’ approaches to test-based accountability (TBA). The first framework identifies three trends that can be related to transnational research and policy endeavours: First, the meritocracy trend, focusing on fair certification and selection procedures for individual students, that was emphasised in international research projects such as the International Examinations Inquiry in the 1930s (Lawn, 2008). Second, the accountability trend, emphasising the governing of education systems and their role in global competition among national states, which became more prominent when comparative testing programmes (e.g. TIMSS, PIRLS and PISA) were organised in fixed cycles from the 1990s onwards (Benavot & Tanner, 2007). Third, the Assessment for learning trend, addressing the role of assessment in supporting student learning, which emerged at the change of the millennium (Black and Wiliam, 1998). These three transnational trends have shaped the roles of educational assessment emphasised in countries’ national assessment instruments worldwide. The second framework utilises Hopmann’s (2003) distinction between process- and product-controlled education systems, and Carson’s (2007) historical portrait of the American and French republics’ approaches to measuring merit. These historical perspectives are used to develop a typology expressing two different approaches to determine students’ level of attainment: emphasis on professional (subjective) judgments and external (objective) measurements respectively. Combined, the two frameworks illustrate how product-controlled education systems were more inclined to be receptive to the accountability trend’s quest for measurable outcomes as the basis for governing education, because its meritocratic instruments was already adapted to new psychometric principles. Process-controlled education systems, on the other hand, were more inclined to resist psychometric approaches to measure outcomes until the PISA shock paved the way for such tests as the basis for governing education in many countries. The cases of Norway and Sweden are used as empirical examples, to explain how contemporary TBA approaches were object to substantially different transnational influences characteristic to the transnational trend at the time of implementation. These differences may be illustrative of wider patterns in European countries’ cultures of educational assessment. The paper contends that the analytical frameworks help illuminate principal differences between national states’ cultures of educational assessment that shaped the implementation and legitimation TBA. Furthermore, the paper suggests that the frameworks envision how these principal differences constitute important premises for how countries’ approaches to TBA gains, sustains and loses legitimacy.
Benavot, A., & Tanner E. (2007). The Growth of National Learning Assessments in the World, 1995–2006. Background paper for the EFA global monitoring report: Education For All by 2015: Will We Make It? Paris: UNESCO. Black, P., & Wiliam D. (1998). Assessment and Classroom Learning. Assessment in Education 5(1), 7–74. Carson, J. (2007). The Measure of Merit: Talents Intelligence, and Inequality in the French and American Republics, 1750–1940. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press Hopmann, S.T (2003). On the Evaluation of Curriculum Reforms. Journal of Curriculum Studies 35(4), 459–478. Lawn, M. (Ed.) (2008). An Atlantic Crossing? The Work of the International Examination Inquiry, its Researchers, Methods and Influence. London: Symposium Books.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
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