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The Emerging Work of Big Data and Digital Learning Assessments in Education: A Critical Analysis

The Research Program Policy Futures is hosting a public lecture with Bob Lingard, Emeritus Professor of Sociology of Education, Institute for Learning Sciences and Teacher Education, Australian Catholic University.

28.06.2019 | Lise Wendelboe

Dato tor 03 okt
Tid 15:00 16:30
Sted Room D169, DPU, AU, Tuborgvej 164, Copenhagen NV

Introduced by: Professor mso John Benedicto Krejsler, DPU, AU, Research Program Policy Futures.

The presentation addresses the growing roles of big data and digital learning assessments in education in the context of the impact of digital disruption and changing social arrangements. This phenomenon has been characterised variously as the audit culture, knowing capitalism, data capitalism, the metric society and surveillance capitalism.

  • What is the nature of digital learning assessments and how do they evolve in complex and nonlinear ways from computer-based testing through Computer Adaptive Testing to Immersive Assessments?
  • What are the relationships to big data, in terms of volume, continuous collection and interaction?

Big data in contemporary schooling and its impact on policy and practice is still limited, but emerging. Analysing the functions of algorithms and the work of self-learning algorithms, one notes the human involvement in their construction and potential bias. Therefore, the impact on the curriculum of digital learning assessments should be considered in terms broader social and civic purposes of schooling.

How will these developments impact the work of teachers in both Global North and Global South nations? An argument is proffered that teaching needs to be re-professionalised. Teachers need to take on new roles to make discerning use of the data available to them (academic and affective) for enhancing practices and learning of all students.

The presentation highlights: (1) The potentially dangerous role of edu-businesses and commercial interests; (2) A suite of complex legal, ethical and ownership considerations regarding data, its use, and fitness-for-purpose; (3) Privacy issues and the rights of the child have not been a subject of sustained debate and discussion.

The analysis is situated in relation to both developed and developing nations, noting the considerable costs involved (1) in the technologies that underpin these developments, (2) in ensuring a re-professionalised teaching workforce, and (3) in ensuring transparency in digital data design and use.


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