Testing, regulation and control: shifting education narratives

Burgess, Hilary and Carter, Bob (1993). Testing, regulation and control: shifting education narratives. Pedagogy, Culture and Society, 1(2) pp. 233–244.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/0965975930010204


This paper explores the impact of the 1988 Education Reform Act in England Wales on education ideologies. In particular it considers the changing narratives of the pupil being brought about through profiling, testing and streaming. Using Foucault's notion of 'moral technologies', the paper examines the regulation of pupil behaviour and the construction of pupil identity through systems of classification and grading. This argument is supported by school-based research into the use of testing and profiling by teachers. The paper concludes that the pedagogic aspirations of child centredness and the National Curriculum converge in the everyday practices of primary school teachers.

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