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Objectivity as standardization in data scientific education policy, technology and governance

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    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Learning, Media and Technology on 12/12/2018, available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439884.2018.1556215

    Accepted author manuscript, 260 KB, PDF document

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439884.2018.1556215
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalLearning, Media and Technology
Early online date12 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Dec 2018

Abstract

New data-driven technologies appear to promise a new era of accuracy and objectivity in scientifically-informed educational policy and governance. The data-scientific objectivity sought by education policy, however, is the result of practices of standardization and quantification deployed to settle controversies about the definition and measurement of human qualities by rendering them as categories and numbers. Focusing on the emerging policy agenda of ‘social and emotional learning and skills,’ this paper examines the practices of ‘objectivity-making’ underpinning this new field. Objectivity-making depends on three translations of (1) scientific expertise into standardized and enumerable definitions, (2) standardization into measurement technologies, and (3) the data produced through measurement technologies into objective policy-relevant knowledge, which consolidates a market in SEL technologies. The paper sheds light on knowledge-making practices in the era of big data and policy science, and their enduring reliance on the precarious construction of objectivity as a key legitimator of policy-relevant scientific knowledge and ‘evidence-based’ education governance.

    Research areas

  • data, objectivity, policy, psychology, social-emotional learning and skills, standardization

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