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Education policy-making and time

Thompson, G. and Cook, I. (2014) Education policy-making and time. Journal of Education Policy, 29 (5). pp. 700-715.

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This paper examines the global policy convergence toward high-stakes testing in schools and the use of test results to ‘steer at a distance’, particularly as it applies to policy-makers’ promise to improve teacher quality. Using Deleuze’s three syntheses of time in the context of the Australian policy blueprint Quality Education, this paper argues that using test scores to discipline teaching repeats the past habit of policy-making as continuing the problem of the unaccountable teacher. This results in local policy-making enfolding test scores in a pure past where the teacher-as-problem is resolved through the use of data from testing to deliver accountability and transparency. This use of the database returns a digitised form of inspection that is a repetition of the habit of teacher-as-problem. While dystopian possibilities are available through the database, in what Deleuze refers to as a control society, for us the challenge is to consider policy-making as a step into an unknown future, to engage with producing policy that is not grounded on the unconscious interiority of solving the teacher problem, but of imagining new ways of conceiving the relationship between policy-making and teaching.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Publisher: Routledge as part of the Taylor and Francis Group
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