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The 'thin descriptions' of the secondary analyses of PISA

Gorur, Radhika 2016, The 'thin descriptions' of the secondary analyses of PISA, Educaçãon & sociedade, vol. 37, no. 136, pp. 647-668, doi: 10.1590/ES0101-73302016166211.

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Title The 'thin descriptions' of the secondary analyses of PISA
Author(s) Gorur, RadhikaORCID iD for Gorur, Radhika orcid.org/0000-0002-4528-0793
Journal name Educaçãon & sociedade
Volume number 37
Issue number 136
Start page 647
End page 668
Total pages 22
Publisher Centro de Estudos Educação e Sociedade (Center of Studies Education and Society - CEDES)
Place of publication Campinas, Brazil
Publication date 2016-07
ISSN 0101-7330
1678-4626
Keyword(s) Large-scale databases
Secondary analysis
Science and Technology Studies
PISA
Summary The heavy hammer methods of OECD and PISA in influencing policy through the rankings and through its policy advice are well documented. This speculative paper explores the more subtle and perhaps deeper implications of the development of the PISA database, and of the secondary analysis that is performed using this database. Speculating with concepts from Science and Technology Studies, this paper suggests that PISA deflates “ontologically luxuriant objects” into “ontologically impoverished objects” through standardization and simplification. Freed from their moorings and translated into inscriptions, these ontologically impoverished objects are promiscuous, freely combining with other such objects across spaces and times in different ways to produce lessons for policy and practice. In this paper, I suggest that, while these promiscuous relations may produce mathematically defensible assertions, such findings may be ontologically absurd. Using data from interviews with measurement and policy experts, as well as published secondary analyses, this paper ventures some speculative ideas about how we might understand the PISA database and the use of this database in secondary analysis. The paper argues that secondary analysis is not merely a mathematical or technical exercise but a sociotechnical one, and that, given its influence and reach, it attempts to open up the black boxes of the PISA database and the practices of secondary analysis, and make them available for wider sociological and philosophical examination and critique.
Language eng
DOI 10.1590/ES0101-73302016166211
Field of Research 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education
160808 Sociology and Social Studies of Science and Technology
Socio Economic Objective 930501 Education and Training Systems Policies and Development
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, Centro de Estudos Educação e Sociedade
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30090343

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Arts and Education
School of Education
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.