Lancaster UniversityGraduate School
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LRDG jointly with Educational Research Seminar Series - Taking numbers to task: exploring PISA data on reading engagement

Date: 28 May 2013 Time: 13.00-14.00

Venue: B.89 County South

Professor Gemma Moss

Professor of Education

Department of Humanities and Social Science

Institute of Education, University of London

Taking numbers to task: exploring PISA data on reading engagement

This paper will consider whether qualitative research traditions can interact with quantitative traditions in ways that work for the common good. To date, critical exploration of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) data and their role in policy discourse has tended to focus either on the reliability of the test instruments employed to assess participants' literacy levels; or on the use of the findings, expressed as country by country rank orderings, within policy discourse. By contrast this paper will consider PISA data as an example of specialised knowledge making that travels out into policy domains, in the process losing the caveats, qualifications and uncertainties that characterise statistical thinking. The paper will focus on the use of the term "reading engagement", as a key variable that explains variation in reading performance in the OECD reports, exploring how far this acts as a case study for the social construction of statistical data. The paper will conclude by asking when and under what terms numerical data have a useful function to play; and the role qualitative research traditions have in making this happen.


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Organising departments and research centres: Centre for Social Justice and Wellbeing in Education, Educational Research, Lancaster Literacy Research Centre


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