Data, numbers and accountability: The complexity, nature and effects of data use in schools

Hardy, Ian (2015) Data, numbers and accountability: The complexity, nature and effects of data use in schools. British Journal of Educational Studies, 63 4: 467-486. doi:10.1080/00071005.2015.1066489

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Author Hardy, Ian
Title Data, numbers and accountability: The complexity, nature and effects of data use in schools
Journal name British Journal of Educational Studies   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0007-1005
Publication date 2015-07-13
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/00071005.2015.1066489
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 63
Issue 4
Start page 467
End page 486
Total pages 20
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom
Publisher Routledge
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract This article draws upon research in one school in Queensland, Australia, to explore how the push to data influences teacher work and subsequent student learning. This ‘rise of data’, often oriented towards ‘external’ and performative processes of accountability, exhibits itself in many ways, but is particularly evident in teachers’ engagement with various forms of regionally and centrally sanctioned, and often standardized, measures of attainment, typically expressed in numbers. Drawing upon the sociology of numbers, and Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘field’, ‘habitus’ and ‘capital’, the research shows how the emphasis upon data collection reveals a ‘field of schooling practices’ characterized by concerns about collecting, analysing and improving numeric data; standardized and centrally sanctioned data as forms of capital of increasing value; and a teaching disposition/habitus characterized by constant monitoring of student performance through virtual and physical data bases. The research reveals how the ‘logics’ of schooling may be in danger of being dominated by more centralized, standardized forms of numeric data for performative accountability purposes, even as more educative logics are evident.
Keyword Data use
Sociology of numbers
Standardized testing
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Education Publications
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Created: Tue, 22 Sep 2015, 14:32:18 EST by Claire Backhouse on behalf of School of Education