23 SES 05.5 PS, General Poster Exhibition
General Poster Session during Lunch
Since 2000 the European Union (EU) education policy-making tools, which drive change and push different EU education agendas forward, have entirely changed. New policy-making tools include: regular monitoring, comparison, and reporting of education systems, evaluation by peers (peer review process) and large-scale international comparative assessment studies. They are primarily based on knowledge and expertise, and through interaction, constitute a new mode of EU governance. They work as governing devices by drawing national systems closer into European and global frameworks and practices through negotiation, co-option, cross-comparison, and competition (Ioannidou 2007; Ozga 2008; Delvaux and Mangez 2010; Grek 2010). These rich sources of educational research results and analyses are available to support member states in conceiving and implementing their education policies and education practices. In this way, they influence national education policies and therefore evidence-based education is seen as the driver of reform in national education systems.
Some authors (de Peuter 2007, Weiss et al. 2008) suggest that although basing educational policymaking on scientific evidence may be a good idea, its implementation and rigor are lacking. In other words, the knowledge being produced at the EU and international level is not being used in either the education policies or education practices of member states. In these new modes of EU governance where expert knowledge plays a key role, the successful translation of internationally produced knowledge is necessarily dependent on the experts and their influence in national education systems. Authors agree that empirical evidence in this field is missing and that the research question addressed in this paper – “What is the real role of international comparative assessment studies in member states and therefore in European education space”? – has not yet been satisfactorily answered.
The basic objective of the paper is to fill the research gap by providing an innovative research framework for investigating the role of international comparative assessment studies as part of evidence-based education in EU member states. In this way, the theories about the new modes of governance, policy learning and evidence-based policy will be used to introduce and explain the importance of international comparative assessment studies for national education policies and to highlight the empirical findings about the role international comparative assessment studies play in Slovenian education policy making. The paper therefore explain local contextual influences in relation to their interplay with international policy trends, in particular the spreading idea of evidence-based policy making and the efforts made to adapt to this model in Slovenian educational space. In conducting empirical research, special emphasis will be on the changing relationship between experts and expert knowledge on the one side and policy makers and stakeholders on the other side. At the end, previously mentioned theories will be also used to critically estimate the role international comparative assessment (should) play in Slovenian and therefore also European education space.
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