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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Assessment, technology and democratic education in the age of data

Much of my attention this week has been focused on the collision between data and management culture. Most of the time I have felt uncomfortable about what I've been hearing. This doesn't make me feel any better:

"...I would like to suggest now that powerful techniques to manipulate data can be easily co-opted to serve the restrictive frameworks of competitive, hyper-controlling, managerial accountability that characterise current cultures of summative assessment in many countries. In fact, recent technological developments may work against the inclusion of more sophisticated forms of evidence, such as those that assume constructivist and collaborative epistemologies, since the emphasis on machine-readable information tends to cause overreliance on quantifiable data."

Assessment, technology and democratic education in the age of data. Learning, Media and Technology, 18 Dec 2012 doi:10.1080/17439884.2013.752384
This paper contends that powerful techniques to manipulate data, enabled by technological and economic developments, can be easily co-opted to serve the restrictive frameworks of hyper-controlling, managerial accountability that characterise current cultures of summative assessment in education. In response to these challenges, research is urgently needed to increase our understanding of the impact that assessments have on individuals and society. The paper concludes that social research ought to contribute to the identification of responses – educational, technological and political – that can minimise inequalities and potential abuses through the encouragement of data literacy.




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