Presentation on theme: "Teacher evaluation in higher education in Flanders: The construction of quality Mathias Decuypere (Presenter), Maarten Simons and Jan Masschelein (Co-authors)"— Presentation transcript:
Teacher evaluation in higher education in Flanders: The construction of quality Mathias Decuypere (Presenter), Maarten Simons and Jan Masschelein (Co-authors) Laboratory for Education and Society Center for Education Policy and Innovation Center for Philosophy of Education
Overview Background: University of Leuven Quality assessment and assurance: A concrete framework… …put into practice Focus Devices and technologies A rationale of teacher evaluation Privatizing tendencies A compositionist ‘Parliament of Things’
Background: University of Leuven Situated in the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium (“Flanders”) 34,940 Students 4,410 Junior researchers 1,423 Senior researchers (academic staff) 62 Undergraduate (Bachelor) programs 120 Postgraduate (Master) programs
Quality assessment and assurance: A concrete framework…
Quality assessment and assurance: …put into practice. Biennial survey concerning the quality of education given by academic staff This survey is filled in by students who followed the course Purpose: making educational quality transparent in order to Recognize & reward good practices Adjust & remedy possible bottlenecks Lecturer can contextualize the evaluation of each course given Those results are transposed to her/his personal file
Focus Not a plea for or against teacher evaluation as such Instead: a (theoretical) focus on rationales, technologies and devices used… … resulting in an alternative conception of teacher evaluation.
A concrete example (Faculty of psychology and educational sciences as a whole, course-specific information not disclosed…) resultaten/evaopo/evaopo-ppw.html
Devices and technologies This way of evaluating is dependent on the production of solid facts (and corresponding values) in order to obtain legitimacy. This is effectuated by means of: Calculative devices (Callon & Muniesa, 2003) Calculation: the perceiving and grading of differences, which leads to estimations of courses of action associated with the perceived differences (means, standard deviations) Calculative devices: devices that aim at rendering things more scientific (or enacting particular versions of what it is to be scientific), inspiring more evidence-based action Evaluation of quality of teaching tries to differentiate (scientifically) and to trigger specific actions based on this differentiation (cf. ‘recognizing and rewarding’ vs. ‘adjusting and remedying’) Inscriptive technologies (Latour, 1987; Law, 2004) Inscription: the transformation of certain aspects of reality into figures, diagrams, texts (the practice of a one-year course into one table) Inscriptive technologies: technologies that aim at visualizing (scientific) results, hence inscribing themselves into reality (e.g. table)
The rationale of teacher evaluation Objective/ scientific data ‘Matters of Fact’ (teacher evaluation by group of students) Subjective opinions ‘Matters of value’ (individual lecturers and students) Final results inform Statistical analysis results in
The modern Constitution Nature Assembly of objectsAssembly of humans Society Two-house collective Archetypical for modern ways of thinking Nature-collector lodges ‘matters of fact’: objective facts and objects (Latour, 1993; 1999/2004a; 2004b) vs. ‘matters of value’ in society-collector
Privatizing tendencies Dealing with teacher evaluation in this modern way gives way to privatizing tendencies: A complete cold-shouldering of the constructed character of the quality obtained (e.g. calculation, inscription) The power of numbers (‘M’ and ‘SD’ as embodiment of the entire teaching process) (cf. Rose, 1999) The power of expertise and the inability of the tutor (who can be a professor in statistics…) The opportunity to contextualize results, this is the opportunity to attach values to facts, only allowed post-hoc Despite all contestations within the University of Leuven, evaluation has to be conducted this way (and no other) This privatizes the process: other possible ways of (and opinions about) evaluation are being ignored and no (longer) welcomed Secondly, this process also establishes a responsabilization of the teachers: ‘keep up with the rest’, ‘do better than the rest’
An other, non-modern way: Teacher evaluation as a compositionist ‘Parliament of Things’? Students Lecturer Staff Other spokesmen Statistician What constitutes a good teacher? “Thing”
An other, non modern way: Teacher evaluation as a compositionist ‘Parliament of Things’? This Parliament has to be understood as ‘the place to make some-thing public’ (thus not in classical institutional meaning of the word) Representation: Traditionally understood in terms of legitimacy of the representing spokesmen (students, staff, lecturers, etc.) This proposal however needs a second kind of representation as well: are the things one talks about accurately represented, e.g. do the spokespersons of the numbers obtained speak in name of those numbers (≠ do they consider them to be a mirror of reality, but: do they report of what those numbers mean (and what not), how they were constructed (and how not), what are their capacities and limitations, etc.) Letting numbers ‘speak for themselves’ is something totally different than letting a spokesmen make an argument (or ‘composition’) based on those numbers
Readings… Callon, M., & Muniesa, F. (2003). Les marches économiques comme dispositifs collectifs de calcul. Réseaux, 21(122), Latour, B. (1987). Science in action. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (1993). We have never been modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Latour, B. (2004a). Politics of nature: How to bring the sciences into democracy (C. Porter,Trans). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (Original work published 1999) Latour, B. (2004b). Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern. Critical Inquiry, 30(2), Law, J. (2004). After method. Mess in social science research. London: Routledge. Rose, N. (1999). Powers of freedom. Reframing political thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Mathias Decuypere Laboratory for Education and Society Vesaliusstraat 2 Box Leuven Belgium