Measuring quality, framing what we know: A critical discourse analysis of the Common Inspection Framework

Dennis, Carol (2011). Measuring quality, framing what we know: A critical discourse analysis of the Common Inspection Framework. Literacy, 45(3) pp. 119–125.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-4369.2011.00595.x

Abstract

In “Measuring quality: framing what we know” I of- fer a critique of Success in Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL provision (Success in ALNE) – a contextu- alised reworking of the common inspection frame- work. This document offers a government-sponsored account of what quality means when applied to the teaching of adult language, literacy and numeracy. The paper draws on critical discourse analysis to argue that the writers of Success in ALNE imagine an ideal reader, inviting the actual reader to fall in with the charac- teristics ascribed to this positioning. I argue that Suc- cess in ALNE adopts a series of positionings regard- ing quality, practitioners, learners and learning, each of which require the actual reader to adopt a rela- tional stance. Central to the argument developed is that government-sponsored discourses around quality in adult literacy have effectively marginalised or si- lenced other discourses. The artefacts associated with quality – the individual learning plan – are argued to exert an agentic power; they are invested with the ca- pacity, indeed they are required, to redefine literacy learning. Compliant with the requirements of the qual- ity regime, they co-opt practitioners in an act of transla- tion and an act of betrayal in which the actuality of lit- eracy learning is fitted to prescribed lexical categories until it coheres with the abstractions of what quality requires.

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