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Title: Education, measurement, and the professions: Reclaiming a space for democratic professionality in education
Authors: Biesta, G
Keywords: Education;Measurement;Professions;Democracy;Professionality
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Citation: Educational Philosophy and Theory, (2015)
Abstract: In this article I explore the impact of the contemporary culture of measurement on education as a professional field. I focus particularly on the democratic dimensions of professionalism, which includes both the democratic qualities of professional action in education itself and the way in which education, as a profession, supports the wider democratic cause. I show how an initial authoritarian conception of professionalism was opened up in the 1960s and 1970s towards more democratic and more inclusive forms of professional action. I then show how, in the wake of the transformation of the welfare state and the rise of neo-liberal forms of governing, the democratic dimension of professionalism became distorted. I discuss three distortions, having to do with the position of clients, the nature of accountability, and the status of professional knowledge. While at first sight the developments in each of these areas can be seen as furthering the democratisation of the professions, I argue that in fact they have eroded the democratic dimension of the professions and show the contribution of the culture of measurement to this erosion process. In the final step of my argument I suggest how a more democratic mode of professional action might be regained and how such a mode of professional action might contribute to wider processes of democratisation.
ISSN: 0013-1857
Appears in Collections:Dept of Education Research Papers

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