Measuring, monitoring, and managing for productive learning? Australian insights into the enumeration of education


This article reflects upon how teacher learning is currently construed under conditions of increased measurement of student learning outcomes, and the effects of advocacy for such enumeration processes. It draws upon a broad range of literature on the practice of education, measuring learning, and its effects on teachers’ learning. To help ground the analysis, the paper analyses the meeting transcripts of an ongoing, long-term teacher learning initiative in a school in northern Queensland, Australia, and how processes of measurement influenced such learning.  These reflections reveal teachers’ practices as deeply influenced by the ways in which schooling is construed under conditions of increased pressure to enumerate learning, even as this is contested.  Processes of ‘measuring learning’ are revealed as enabling practices of ‘monitoring learning’ through students’ data profiles, and ultimately, of ‘managing learning’, particularly of lower performing students. The article cautions that while these resultant practices of ‘managing’ learning may be productive of teacher learning for substantive student learning, the extent to which this is the case under conditions of more fine-grained processes of measuring and monitoring of student learning is a contested point, and requiring much more careful analysis than currently attends support for the enumeration of education more broadly.

Palabras clave

quantification of learning; testing; standardized testing; standardized learning; teacher learning; teacher professional development

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Revista de Sociología de la Educación (RASE) / ISSN: 1988-7302