Evaluating Education: Normative Systems and Institutional Practices


This series addresses the normative implications of and assumptions behind schemes for assessing and assuring the quality of education at all levels and the role of education in the knowledge society. Educational assessment in most countries has become a standardized function of governments and funders, raising concerns that the distinctive aims of different parts of the educational system and their inherent values base will be eroded over time. Moreover, contemporary education research tends to be compartmentalized, having limited contact with relevant research in philosophy, sociology, history, economics and management studies. This series seeks to rectify this situation by: - examining the historical development, theoretical underpinnings and implicit conceptual assumptions of different regulatory and evaluative regimes and making these explicit - investigating the implicit or explicit values exemplified in and buttressed by policy, and studying its implications in practice - proposing and developing models for alternative practices for realizing goals and promoting norms tied to different conceptions of the purposes of public education and the mission of the university The series will focus on the pragmatic as well as the theoretical aspects of valuation activities in education and foster dialogue between different approaches within the field, taking as a starting point the fact that processes of valuation are not always quantitative and that these regularly involve a variety of interests and actors. Thus the series will address the diversity of valuation practices, measurements and techniques in education in general at all levels – primary, secondary, tertiary and postgraduate, as well as adult and continuing education –, and higher education in particular, especially regarding potential sources of dispute or controversy. The series will also deal with the consequences of valuation practices in higher education, exploring the ways they resolve, engender or conceal conflicts of values, goals or interests. By bringing forward the normative and institutional dimensions, the series opens the prospect of providing more integrative coverage. This will be of benefit to scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and especially to evaluation researchers and people training to be academic and school administrators. Viewing the field through a philosophical, sociological and historical lens, while incorporating empirical research into the institutions of education and its instruments of assessment, the series seeks to establish and enrich understanding of links between values, pedagogy and evaluation.