28 SES 03, Beyond PISA: Social and Ethical Aspects of Key-competencies
Parallel Paper Session
For the last three decades, most European educational systems have known transformations on their modes of regulation. Reforms and measures of (de)centralisation, school autonomy, liberalisation of school choice and accountability multiplied, making it possible to recognise a certain convergence among European policies orientations, also diffused by international organisations.
These processes have been analysed through the role of evaluation, which provides a meaning to common elements of the new institutional arrangements, actors involved in decision-making and type of (de)centralised responsibilities. “Evaluative State” (Neave, 1989; Broadfoot, 1996) and “Quasi-Market” (Maroy, 2005) concepts are often mobilised to study the redistribution of competencies among educational actors.
Although common trends explainable by reference to evaluation are identifiable – such as the definition of minimal national competences, decentralisation of means and management responsibilities, development of school inspections, generalisation of national exams or measures of school choice and private education financing -, there are still important differences among European educational systems, due to their particular history and institutional characteristics.
The aim of this paper is to provide a comparative reflection on the evolution of the modes of regulation, showing that beyond these identifiable trends, national policies and measures assume specific configurations. The elaboration of a typology on the patterns of relations and educational actors competencies will enable the study of how five educational systems - Portuguese, Italian, French Community of Belgium, Danish and English – mediate those common orientations in a particular way (Van Haecht, 1998), admitting their relative autonomy on the definition of paths, configurations and measures.
This analysis offers pertinent clues of reflection on the relationship between global (European Union context) and national (educational system) perspectives. The main theoretical issue is to understand how these two scales interact in the production of policies of (de)centralisation, school autonomy, school choice and accountability. The “bricolage” process in the elaboration of educative policies (Ball, 1998) combines the borrowing of some foreign ideas fragments, interpreted from local contexts and ideologies, and their adaptation to pre-existing institutional structures – in a continuous process of recontextualisations and hybridisations. Its interpretation and explanation is provided by Giddens “duality of structure” (Giddens,  2000) approach which considers the permanent interaction between conditions and individuals who are structured and contribute to shape social reality.
The paper combines global and national perspectives on processes of redistribution of competencies between actors in European educational systems. First, we briefly introduce common transformations referring to the role of evaluation. Second, we present a typology of patterns of relations and educational actors competencies, distinguishing five types of systems according to the way of how groups of contexts mediate and respond similarly to these national trends. Finally, a deeper analysis of policies’ recontextualisations and hybridisations will be conducted at the educational system level, considering one example of each type.
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