The Haunting Question of Values in the Era of Measurement, Assessment and Evidence-Based Education: Towards a Moral Accountability of Educational Decision-Making
Keywords:Evidence based education, Empiricism, Scientific Knowledge, decision-making, Moral Accountability
The evidence-based turn in education reveals renewed consensus on empiricism and shared trust in science as if it were the allegedly value-free basis for decision-making: good, justifiable governance should be a non-discretional corollary of scientific knowledge. The article focuses on some risks implied in pursuing the de-moralization of educational decision-making, namely the realistic, the reductionist, and the perspective fallacies, as well as the minimization of individual responsibility in favor of the third-person perspective implied in following protocols and guidelines. In the discussion I address some possible reasons for the appeal of the evidence-based turn despite these risks: the contemporary pressure for “accountability” and the need to justify social policies and practices with consensual criteria. In the conclusion, I claim that educational decision-making should deploy rather than conceal its moral bases despite their being potentially highly divisive. Consequently, I make a case for “moral accountability”: making publicly inspectable what evidence-based education tries to conceal, i.e. the unavoidable value-ladeness of educational policies and practices.
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