This volume and the series is timely as administrators and policy-makers in different parts of the world have taken an increased interest in education, and as moves to centralise curriculum provision have gathered pace. This has in some cases driven a wedge between curriculum theory and curriculum practice, as policy-makers have developed and implemented proposals without referring to academic debates about these issues. It therefore is an important task to reassert the need to discuss and debate the curriculum in a critical manner before implementation occurs. This volume sets about that task, addressing policy-makers, administrators, teachers and the research community.
DAVID SCOTT is a Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Curriculum and Teaching Studies at the Open University in the United Kingdom. He has published widely in the fields of curriculum, assessment and research methodology. His most recent books include Reading Educational Research and Literacy, Realism and Educational Research: New Perspectives and Possibilities and (with Robin Usher) Researching Education. Data, Methods and Theory in Educational Enquiry. He is the current editor of The Curriculum Journal.
Scott explores the political and epistemological implications of how the past is conceived in relation to the present and future through a reconsideration of C. L. R. James’s masterpiece of anticolonial history, The Black Jacobins, first published in 1938. In that book, James told the story of Toussaint L’Ouverture and the making of the Haitian Revolution as one of romantic vindication. In the second edition, published in the United States in 1963, James inserted new material suggesting that that story might usefully be told as tragedy. Scott uses James’s recasting of The Black Jacobins to compare the relative yields of romance and tragedy. In an epilogue, he juxtaposes James’s thinking about tragedy, history, and revolution with Hannah Arendt’s in On Revolution. He contrasts their uses of tragedy as a means of situating the past in relation to the present in order to derive a politics for a possible future.
Within this volume, internationally renowned contributors address a number of fundamental questions designed to take the reader to the heart of current debates around curriculum, knowledge transfer, equity and social justice, and system reform, such as:
What are schools and what are they for?
What knowledge should schools teach?
How are learners different from each other and how are groups of learners different from one another, in terms of social class, gender, ethnicity, and disability?
What influence does educational policy have on improving schools?
What influence does research have on our understanding of education and schooling?
To encourage reflection, many of the chapters also include questions for debate and a guide to further reading.
Read alongside its companion volume, Educational Theories, Cultures and Learning, readers will be encouraged to consider and think about on some of the key issues facing education and educationists today.
Standard setting targets crucial societal objectives by defining educational benchmarks at different achievement levels, and provides feedback to policy makers, schools and teachers about the strengths and weaknesses of a school system. Given that the consequences of standard setting can be dramatic, the quality of standard setting is a prime concern. If it fails, repercussions can be expected in terms of arbitrary evaluations of educational policy, wrong turns in school or teacher development or misplacement of individual students. Standard setting therefore needs to be accurate, reliable, valid, useful, and defensible.
However, specific evidence on the benefits and limits of different approaches to standard setting is rare and scattered, and there is a particular lack with respect to standard setting in the Nordic countries, where the number of national tests is increasing and there are concerns about the time and effort spent on testing at schools without feedback being provided. Addressing this gap, the book offers a discussion on standard setting by respected experts as well as profound and innovative insights into fundamental aspects of standard setting including conclusions for future methodological and policy-related research.
“Scholarly, yet direct and to the point, [Doll’s] ideas make sense to front line educators in the real world of today’s schools.”
—Kenneth Graham, Seaford Union Free School District