NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ1153967
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0161-956X
The "Datafication" of Teaching: Can Teachers Speak Back to the Numbers?
Stevenson, Howard
Peabody Journal of Education, v92 n4 p537-557 2017
Teachers face considerable and increasing pressure in their working lives. Labor intensification compels teachers to work faster, harder, and longer. However, teachers also experience increasing external control over what they teach and how they teach. These processes are increasingly made possible by the "datafication" of teaching, whereby the educational process is increasingly transformed into numbers that allow measurement, comparison, and the functioning of high-stakes accountability systems linked to rewards and sanctions. Although there is no question that being able to use student assessment data to support learning has an important place in teachers' repertoire of skills, "datafication" refers to the use of data in a way that has become increasingly detached from supporting learning and is much more concerned with the management of teacher performance as an end in itself. This article presents two currents of critical thought in relation to teachers' work, labor process theory and poststructural analyses grounded in the concept of performativity, and discusses them as a way of "making sense" of teachers' work and the "datafication" of teaching, with a particular focus on questions of control and resistance. It seeks to understand why, despite the pressures on teachers, teacher resistance has seldom developed in ways, at times, or on a scale that both experience and theoretical insight might have predicted. There are clearly significant differences between the two perspectives presented in this article, not least in the ways they conceptualize and explain "resistance." However, common ground is identifiable and the two theoretical approaches can be bridged in a form that can be productive for those seeking to "speak back to the numbers." In looking to broker this theoretical divide, I argue that frame theory, rooted within the sociology of social movements, can offer a fruitful way of theory bridging, while also providing the basis for a wider politics of transformation. The article offers several examples of grassroots initiatives formed to oppose standardized testing in England that provide practical examples of this "ideas work" in action.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 530 Walnut Street Suite 850, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Tel: 215-625-8900; Fax: 215-207-0050; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A