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Good Education in an Age of Measurement: Ethics, Politics, Democracy

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The widespread use of the measurement of educational outcomes in order to compare the performance of education within and across countries seems to express a real concern for the quality of education. This book argues that the focus on the measurement of educational outcomes has actually displaced questions about educational purpose. Biesta explores why the question as to The widespread use of the measurement of educational outcomes in order to compare the performance of education within and across countries seems to express a real concern for the quality of education. This book argues that the focus on the measurement of educational outcomes has actually displaced questions about educational purpose. Biesta explores why the question as to what constitutes good education has become so much more difficult to ask and shows why this has been detrimental for the quality of education and for the level of democratic control over education. He provides concrete suggestions for engaging with the question of purpose in education in a new, more precise and more encompassing way, with explicit attention to the ethical, political and democratic dimensions of education.


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The widespread use of the measurement of educational outcomes in order to compare the performance of education within and across countries seems to express a real concern for the quality of education. This book argues that the focus on the measurement of educational outcomes has actually displaced questions about educational purpose. Biesta explores why the question as to The widespread use of the measurement of educational outcomes in order to compare the performance of education within and across countries seems to express a real concern for the quality of education. This book argues that the focus on the measurement of educational outcomes has actually displaced questions about educational purpose. Biesta explores why the question as to what constitutes good education has become so much more difficult to ask and shows why this has been detrimental for the quality of education and for the level of democratic control over education. He provides concrete suggestions for engaging with the question of purpose in education in a new, more precise and more encompassing way, with explicit attention to the ethical, political and democratic dimensions of education.

30 review for Good Education in an Age of Measurement: Ethics, Politics, Democracy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    We are living in times where measuring results, proving the effectiveness of what we do, has become the norm. This is also the case in the field of education. Gert Biesta challenges this development in this book. One of the basic questions –and an important one- he poses is: ‘are we indeed measuring what we value, or are we just measuring what we can easily measure and thus up valuing what we (can) measure?’ The question we should be asking, says Biesta, is ‘What is education for? He makes the c We are living in times where measuring results, proving the effectiveness of what we do, has become the norm. This is also the case in the field of education. Gert Biesta challenges this development in this book. One of the basic questions –and an important one- he poses is: ‘are we indeed measuring what we value, or are we just measuring what we can easily measure and thus up valuing what we (can) measure?’ The question we should be asking, says Biesta, is ‘What is education for? He makes the case that education basically serves three functions: qualification, socialization and subjectification. He demonstrates that these functions are partly synergetic, but also conflicting. The bigger question of what education is for, is determined by who sets the agenda and how this is done. Biesta argues for a profound democratic approach. In exploring these issues, Biesta refers to the work of such philosophers as Dewey, Bauman, Levinas, Arendt and Rancière. Inevitably, this leads to an abstract, philosophical treatise. For instance, on subjectification, we come across statements such as: The subjectification function might perhaps best be understood as the opposite of the socialization function. Subjectification has to do with the ways in which our beginnings are taken up by others in ways that do not preclude them bringing their beginnings into the world as well. Rancière defines subjectification as ‘the production through a series of actions of a body and a capacity for enuncation not previously identifiable within a given field of experience, whose identification is thus part of the reconfiguration of the field of experience.’ How to put the ideas that Biesta presents in this book into practice in the ineluctable everyday reality of the classroom, is a question that most teachers will undoubtedly be left with after they finish reading. Still, it is important that the questions that Biesta raises are raised, and that teachers, educators and policymakers are kindled to challenge their presumptions. That is a function that Biesta’s work serves very well.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Hawkesworth

    A very insightful and thought-provoking book about how one might attempt to approach the question, “what is good education?” The second half delves into the theory of democracy, but the ideas explored there are often not explicitly linked backed up the thesis in a thorough manner.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael Labone

    Spoiler alert measurement stinks

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jesper Balslev

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cat

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sune Weile

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    Johnyg

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jbucsak

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jakob Jørgensen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jakob Klinkby

  11. 5 out of 5

    John

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    Lindsay Stoetzel

  13. 5 out of 5

    Christina

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    Jan Michael

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    Mariano

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jonas Møller Pedersen

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mathias

  18. 4 out of 5

    Hilmar Laursen

  19. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dawnene Hassett

  21. 5 out of 5

    Luke Ashton

  22. 4 out of 5

    Graeme Eyre

  23. 5 out of 5

    Athole McLauchlan

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    Chris

  25. 5 out of 5

    Catia

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    Melinda

  27. 4 out of 5

    Renata Aquino

  28. 4 out of 5

    Middlethought

  29. 5 out of 5

    Charles Marlow

  30. 5 out of 5

    Stockfish

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