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Mikhaylova, T. & Pettersson, D. (2024). The timeless beauty of data: Inventing educational pasts, presents and futures through data visualisation. Critical Studies in Education
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The timeless beauty of data: Inventing educational pasts, presents and futures through data visualisation
2024 (English)In: Critical Studies in Education, ISSN 1750-8487, E-ISSN 1750-8495Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

This article explores the complex interplay between the visual, numerical and verbal elements of data visualisation and their role in shaping policy concerns. Focusing on the aesthetic and temporal dimensions of statistical graphics and drawing on the notion of diagram in the Deleuzian sense, the article emphasises the performative nature of data visualisation. More specifically, it explores how data visualisation suggests, rather than reveals, particular visions of educational pasts, presents and futures. Based on an analysis of graphs and charts selected from recent UNESCO and OECD reports, the article discusses the practices of the datafication of time and temporalisation and the beautification of data, which together produce ‘beautiful evidence’. This evidence informs education policies and practices and affects the way education can be seen, known and acted upon.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2024
Keywords
Data visualisation, datafication, temporalisation, beautification, diagram, education governance
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-43702 (URN)10.1080/17508487.2024.2308689 (DOI)001152155100001 ()2-s2.0-85183879215 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2024-01-30 Created: 2024-01-30 Last updated: 2024-02-19Bibliographically approved
Mikhaylova, T. & Pettersson, D. (2023). Fabricating Normalcy Through Image-Based Assessments: A Brief History of Intelligence and Personality Tests. In: : . Paper presented at ISCHE 44, Budapest, Hungary, 18-21 July 2023. Budapest
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Fabricating Normalcy Through Image-Based Assessments: A Brief History of Intelligence and Personality Tests
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In 2018, the OECD launched a pilot study titled International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study (IELS) which assesses the emergent literacy, numeracy, self-regulation, and social emotional skills of children at age five. These skills are described as fundamental for children’s future achievements in school and later on in adulthood (OECD, 2020). According to the OECD (2015), the IELS will eventually “provide information on the trajectory between early learning outcomes and those at age 15, as measured by PISA” (p. 103). Thus, the basic assumptions underlying the IELS is that intelligence and socioemotional skills can be objectively evaluated and compared, and that they are stable and predictable

Ironically dubbed the ‘Baby PISA’, the IELS has already drawn a great deal of criticism, which tends to be in line with that of PISA (Auld & Morris, 2019; Moss et al., 2016). However, despite obvious connections to other large-scale assessments, the IELS stands out in terms of its methodology which was developed for children who typically cannot yet read and write. The instructions were given by a pre-recorded voice on a tablet and children could indicate their preferred response by touching items or moving them around the screen (OECD, 2020). Thus, at its core the IELS relies on children’s ability to ‘read’ pictures and to match what they hear and see with what they know.

The use of visual imagery as a tool for measuring cognitive and socio-emotional development is by no means new. In fact, many intelligence and personality tests developed as early as the early 1900s (such as Binet-Simon intelligence scale or the Rorschach test) incorporated some form of images. Developed for diagnosing developmental or intellectual deficiencies in young children or to identify personality and mental health disorders, such tests provided a technique to reveal the invisible and to make the perceived differences between humans to become observable, measurable, comparable and, thus, ‘real’. Despite much criticism, tests of this kind are still widely used to differentiate ‘normal’ individuals from those ‘gifted’ or ‘at risk’ and to assign different pedagogical treatments to different groups of students (Paul, 2004).

By measuring the cognitive and emotional intelligence of preschoolers, the IELS marks the culmination of a century in which testing was of paramount importance. In this paper we situate the IELS within a broader history of image-based assessments to discuss how images function as a tool for differentiating students, controlling education, and predicting future risks (cf. Pettersson & Nordin, forthcoming). For that we trace the history of some of the most common intelligence and personality tests and outline the conditions of possibility that enabled image-based tests to appear scientific and to function as a source of evidence.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Budapest: , 2023
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-43045 (URN)
Conference
ISCHE 44, Budapest, Hungary, 18-21 July 2023
Available from: 2023-09-20 Created: 2023-09-20 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved
Mikhaylova, T. & Pettersson, D. (2023). Governing education through graphs, charts, and diagrams: Visualizing the past, present, and the desirable future. In: : . Paper presented at ECER 2023, Glasgow, Scotland, 22-25 August 2023. Glasgow
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Governing education through graphs, charts, and diagrams: Visualizing the past, present, and the desirable future
2023 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Data visualization has become an integral part of governing education, greatly expanding its reach and influence in the digital age. From tracking the performance of individual students to monitoring the overall success of educational systems, data visualization serves as a powerful tool for informing policy and decision-making on both global and local levels. By providing an easy-to-understand representation of numerical data, it helps governments to quickly identify patterns and trends over time, make calculations about the future and communicate complex information in ways that are both informative and aesthetically pleasing. While there has recently been an increased interest in understanding the role of numbers in shaping education policy (e.g., Pettersson, 2020), visual representations have so far received little attention. Given the importance attached to data in education governance (Williamson, 2016), this gap is surprising. The aim of this paper is, therefore, to contribute insights on how images, words and numbers work together to produce knowledge that makes educational systems amenable to analysis, comparison, and governance (Decuypere & Landri, 2021; Williamson, 2016). More precisely, we explore how quantitates are transformed into geometric shapes, arrows, bars, and vectors to create persuasive accounts of what ‘works’ and what needs to be fixed. We do so by analyzing abstract non-representational pictures employed by international education agencies (such as OECD and UNESCO) in their reports from the last three decades. Inspired by Science and Technologies Studies (Daston & Galison, 2007; Latour, 2012; Lynch & Woolgar, 1990), we consider data visualization a specific technique of knowledge production that structures our understanding of educational spaces and temporalities (cf. Decuypere & Simons, 2020). Although data visualization is often assigned the role of ‘cognitive aid’, the preliminary results of our study indicate that it is not as transparent and self-evident as it is widely believed. By allowing the viewer to ‘see’ the past and present and to imagine the future, graphs, charts, and diagrams convey the impression as if they were entirely devoid of politics. With this promise of objectivity visual representations turn invisible phenomena into ‘noisy’ but ‘beautiful’ evidence (Halpern, 2015; Lynch, 1991). Nevertheless, data visualization presupposes filtering of what can be seen, in what ways and for what purposes. As such, it operates as a mode of preemptive governance (cf. Massumi, 2007), whereby the visualized pasts and projected (un-)desirable futures are brought into and organize the present.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Glasgow: , 2023
Keywords
data visualization, diagram, temporality, education governance
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-43046 (URN)
Conference
ECER 2023, Glasgow, Scotland, 22-25 August 2023
Available from: 2023-09-20 Created: 2023-09-20 Last updated: 2023-09-22Bibliographically approved
Mikhaylova, T. & Pettersson, D. (2023). Minding the gaps: The politics of differentiation in Swedish education from 1842 to the 1960s. Journal of Curriculum Studies
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Minding the gaps: The politics of differentiation in Swedish education from 1842 to the 1960s
2023 (English)In: Journal of Curriculum Studies, ISSN 0022-0272, E-ISSN 1366-5839Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The concept of differentiation holds immense significance in education, touching upon aspects like access, inclusion, justice, and equality. However, it is also a complex and elusive notion, which acquires different meanings across historical and cultural contexts. This article explores the shifting reasoning about differentiation in the Swedish educational context. Inspired by Foucault’s account of disciplinary power, it conceptualizes differentiation as a technique for marking and addressing gaps between individuals. Drawing on an analysis of governmental and scholarly reports from 1842 to the late 1960s, the article identifies three shifts in the reasoning on differentiation: 1) from differentiation by socioeconomic class as a given factor to the search for scientific rationales for differentiation based on measurement of intellectual ability, 2) from viewing differences in intelligence as biologically conditioned and stable to viewing them as amenable to training and correction through education, and 3) from a focus on inputs to a focus on outputs. Overall, the article argues that even if the term ‘differentiation’ itself has been discursively replaced by others, the ideas underlying it—the search for gaps—continue to shape education in Sweden and beyond.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Taylor & Francis, 2023
Keywords
differentiation, individualization, intelligence tests, gaps, history of education
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-43044 (URN)10.1080/00220272.2023.2260456 (DOI)001068371600001 ()2-s2.0-85171654744 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-09-20 Created: 2023-09-20 Last updated: 2023-10-05Bibliographically approved
Rönn, C. & Pettersson, D. (2023). Swedish students’ everyday school life and teachers’ assessment dilemmas: peer strategies for ameliorating schoolwork for assessment. Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, 35, 37-66
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Swedish students’ everyday school life and teachers’ assessment dilemmas: peer strategies for ameliorating schoolwork for assessment
2023 (English)In: Educational Assessment, Evaluation and Accountability, ISSN 1874-8597, E-ISSN 1874-8600, Vol. 35, p. 37-66Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In contemporary ways of thinking about education there is an enhanced focus on individual students’ results and less on students’ collaborative processes for attaining good results. This may appear peculiar, given that the Swedish curriculum for the nine-year compulsory school states that students should be given opportunities to compose texts together with others and give and receive feedback on them. This is also in line with societal desires to motivate students to take responsibility for their lifelong learning. The evolving ethnographic research design, comprising observations, audio-visual recordings and follow-up interviews with students at a Swedish lower secondary school (Years 8 and 9), investigated the informal social strategies that students enacted when doing formal schoolwork and how they reflected on them. Goffman’s (1959/1990) dramaturgical metaphors of the back region, front region and impression management were applied as theoretical points of departure. The findings showed that some students worked hard at their schoolwork in ways that corresponded with societal desires and ideal learning curves. Other students aimed at more effortless achievements and relied heavily on peers and digital devices when taking shortcuts to produce formal assignments. These students’ potential learning curves showed a broken arrow of knowledge development, resulting in assessment dilemmas for teachers and possible mismatches in their grading.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2023
Keywords
Assessment; Curriculum; Grades; Impression management; Informal networking
National Category
Educational Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-40757 (URN)10.1007/s11092-022-09400-3 (DOI)000907748500001 ()2-s2.0-85145614841 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2023-01-16 Created: 2023-01-16 Last updated: 2023-04-04Bibliographically approved
Pettersson, D. & Nordin, A. (2023). Taming Chance in Education: Control, Prediction and Comparison. Routledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Taming Chance in Education: Control, Prediction and Comparison
2023 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This volume centres the notion of "chance" in education as a key concept in contemporary education – relating to aspects like accountability, datafication, or international large-scale assessments – and discusses the impact that the historical desire to "tame" this notion has had on present-day educational policy and practice.

Encouraging readers to widen their educational imagination, chapters combine secondary research from the fields of cybernetics, systems thinking, and comparative education with issues of control, prediction, and comparison as ways to tame chance in education. Using the theoretical lenses of reasoning, notions, and addendums for legitimacy to foster a critical awareness of rarely discussed educational matters, the book explores how these notions are central to the taming of chance within education. Ultimately, the authors determine the styles of reasoning that are foundational and frame how we think about, and act on, education, and thereby address one of the top priorities in educational policy, politics, and practice today.

This timely book, with its unique perspective on the debates around education, will be of interest to students, researchers, and scholars in the fields of education policy and politics, international and comparative education, and theory of education. Those involved with the philosophy of education will also find the book valuable.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2023. p. 170
Series
Routledge Research in Education Policy and Politics
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-42830 (URN)10.4324/9781003370550 (DOI)2-s2.0-85166167540 (Scopus ID)978-1-032-43893-1 (ISBN)978-1-032-44117-7 (ISBN)978-1-003-37055-0 (ISBN)
Available from: 2023-08-12 Created: 2023-08-12 Last updated: 2023-08-14Bibliographically approved
Lindblad, S. & Pettersson, D. (2023). "Who are we writing for?": On Research Publishing in Comparative Studies Based on International Large-Scale Assessments. Sisyphus, 11(2), 139-163
Open this publication in new window or tab >>"Who are we writing for?": On Research Publishing in Comparative Studies Based on International Large-Scale Assessments
2023 (English)In: Sisyphus, ISSN 2182-9640, Vol. 11, no 2, p. 139-163Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study is based on an interest in interaction between science and society and how this structures science and society in tandem. In order to capture such interaction, we are analysing statements in scientific publications. The purpose of this study is to analyse relevancing in scientific publications by studying who are addressed by the research contributions and why these are considered to be relevant. Our case is the field of research labelled as International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSA), such as the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), created to analyse relations between educational designs and student performances.

We identified a large set of research publications by means of the search engines Web of Science and Scopus. We selected publications that were peer reviewed and based on empirical comparisons between at least two countries. A large majority were only analysing student achievement, and few were researching impacts of educational variations. Relevance statements were mostly addressing policymakers. These findings are indicating strong social structuring of much ILSA research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Lissabon: Universidade de Lisboa, 2023
Keywords
international comparisons, science-society interaction, research communication, large scale assessments, educational research
National Category
Pedagogy
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-42729 (URN)10.25749/sis.28905 (DOI)
Available from: 2023-07-09 Created: 2023-07-09 Last updated: 2023-07-10Bibliographically approved
Niemi Mølstad, C. & Pettersson, D. (2022). Ability Testing and Performance Assessments: Producing Different Kinds of Deviancy. In: : . Paper presented at Nordisk läroplansteoretisk konferens – Education between hope and happening, 20-21 oktober 2022, Linnéuniversitetet.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Ability Testing and Performance Assessments: Producing Different Kinds of Deviancy
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-40839 (URN)
Conference
Nordisk läroplansteoretisk konferens – Education between hope and happening, 20-21 oktober 2022, Linnéuniversitetet
Available from: 2023-01-18 Created: 2023-01-18 Last updated: 2023-01-19Bibliographically approved
Pettersson, D., Forsberg, E. & Skott, P. (2022). Conversación con Ulf P. Lundgren: la trayectoria de un reconocido académico guiado por su curiosidad.. In: Historia de la Educación. Revista interuniversitaria: . Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conversación con Ulf P. Lundgren: la trayectoria de un reconocido académico guiado por su curiosidad.
2022 (Spanish)In: Historia de la Educación. Revista interuniversitaria, Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca , 2022Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Salamanca: Universidad de Salamanca, 2022
Series
Historia de la educación: Revista interuniversitaria, ISSN 2386-3846, E-ISSN 0212-0267 ; 41
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-40825 (URN)10.14201/hedu202241 (DOI)
Available from: 2023-01-18 Created: 2023-01-18 Last updated: 2023-05-23Bibliographically approved
Pettersson, D. & Nordin, A. (2022). Curriculum policy making by control, prediction, and comparison. In: : . Paper presented at Nordisk läroplansteoretisk konferens – Education between hope and happening, 20-21 oktober 2022, Linnéuniversitetet.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Curriculum policy making by control, prediction, and comparison
2022 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
National Category
Pedagogy
Research subject
Innovative Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-40836 (URN)
Conference
Nordisk läroplansteoretisk konferens – Education between hope and happening, 20-21 oktober 2022, Linnéuniversitetet
Available from: 2023-01-18 Created: 2023-01-18 Last updated: 2023-01-19Bibliographically approved
Projects
International Comparisons and Re-modelling of Welfare State Education [2016-04520_VR]; University of GävleJämförelser, mätningar och visualiseringar: Om hur utbildningsvetenskaperna blir en del av det samhälleliga välfärdsprojektet [F18-1497:1]; University of Gävle
Organisations
Identifiers
ORCID iD: ORCID iD iconorcid.org/0000-0001-6594-6145

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