Just a thought that kicked in while I am drafting this conference paper on conceptualizing the method behind my PhD analysis. As I am having all these thoughts about the tension about evaluating education quantitatively and the ethics of it, I am also in search of a solid argument that can justify quantifying “unquantifiable”, and still ethically hold up to my beliefs of what education is.
While reading some of Biesta’s work, I suddenly became aware how some of the definitions for quality may be linked into understanding this dialectic. Quantitative assessment paradigm that attends to capture the educational learning outcomes, and is strongly associated with audit cultures. The focus on benchmarking of the outcomes to tweak the input, ultimately aiming for developing the standard links this process to the concepts of “quality as excellence”, i.e. searching for the maximum standard, or “quality as minimum standard”. However, some (all?) of the learning analytics inquires into the process, and that links it with the concept of the quality as effectiveness. Quality as effectiveness takes its purpose in improving the process, without setting the standard, and quality as continuous effectiveness is looked by some (wish I remembered the references here…) as fit for educational institutions.
I am parking this thought here with the wonder: what then could be the relationship between audit culture and accountability and this focus on improving the process for the sake of improving the process? How well or how badly do these two play together?