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Gemma Moss: Taking numbers to task: Exploring PISA data on reading engagement

Date: 28 May 2013 Time: 1 - 2 pm

Venue: B 89, County South

At this joint event organised by the Literacy Research Discussion Group and the Language, Identity & Power Group at the Department of Linguistics, and the Department of Educational Research, Gemma Moss, Institute of Education, University of London, will be "Taking numbers to task":

This paper will consider whetherqualitative 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 hastended tofocus eitheron 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 willconsider 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 ofthe term"reading engagement",asa key variablethat explains variation in reading performance in the OECD reports,exploring how far this actsas a case studyfor 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; andthe rolequalitative research traditions have in making this happen.

NB: Different venue: B89 (Video Conferencing Room), County South

Event website:


Who can attend: Anyone


Further information

Associated staff: Mary Hamilton, Uta Papen

Organising departments and research centres: Lancaster Literacy Research Centre, Language, Ideology and Power Group (LIP), Linguistics and English Language

Keywords: Education, Methodology, Policy


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