ANT on the PISA trail: following the statistical pursuit of certainty

Gorur, Radhika 2011, ANT on the PISA trail: following the statistical pursuit of certainty, Educational philosophy and theory, vol. 43, no. sup1, pp. 76-93, doi: 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2009.00612.x.

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Title ANT on the PISA trail: following the statistical pursuit of certainty
Author(s) Gorur, RadhikaORCID iD for Gorur, Radhika
Journal name Educational philosophy and theory
Volume number 43
Issue number sup1
Start page 76
End page 93
Total pages 18
Publisher Routledge
Place of publication Abingdon, Eng.
Publication date 2011
ISSN 0013-1857
Keyword(s) PISA
evidence-based policy making
actor-network theory
Summary The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is increasingly depended upon by education policy makers to provide reliable measures of their country’s education system against international benchmarks. PISA attempts to provide efficient, scientific and technical means to develop educational policies which achieve optimal outcomes (Berg &Timmermans, 2000, p. 31). This kind of scientific evidence is seen by policy makers as being free of prejudice and ideology. Science is expected to represent the truth, state universal facts and make predictions.Thus PISA seeks to rank countries’ performances, work out future scenarios and offer policy direction. By what means does PISA gain knowledge and speak with confidence about diverse cultures and distant nations? How does it acquire a ‘voice from nowhere’ (Haraway, 1988; Suchman, 2000), and become a modern-day Oracle that countries might consult for policy advice? Modelled on early actor-network accounts of laboratory life, this ethnography traces how PISA knowledge comes to be made, guided by interview data with two ‘insiders’ in the ‘PISA laboratory’. It traces the translations and the circulating reference that turn PISA into a ‘centre of calculation’. It highlights how human and non-human entities are imbricated in the assembling of scientific facts and argues for a suspension of the divide between ‘science’ and ‘politics’. In the process, the paper offers an empirical instantiation of how some concepts from actor-network theory may be applied in the field of education policy, and ponders the implications of such an understanding for evidence based policy making.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.1469-5812.2009.00612.x
Field of Research 160506 Education Policy
1303 Specialist Studies In Education
1702 Cognitive Science
2202 History And Philosophy Of Specific Fields
Socio Economic Objective 970113 Expanding Knowledge in Education
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, The Author, Educational Philosophy and Theory, Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia
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