The configurative agency of metrics in education: A research agenda of engaging differently with data

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The increased use of quantitative education data is often studied as ‘governing by numbers’. In these studies, big actors such as the OECD and nation states are ascribed agency as they produce, distribute, and consume data, and respond to these with policy and management initiatives. This paper argues that metrics themselves hold a configurative agency that affects education in terms of educational ideas and designs. The paper illustrates this point through an analysis of two cases of graduate employability metrics that each configure education differently, and discusses how the configurative agency of metrics can become the focal point of a different research agenda with distinct analytical concepts drawn from the sociology of quantification and new materialism. The paper concludes that such a research agenda can enable, among actors involved in the design and development of education, a professional dialogue and engagement with – rather than a mere dismissal and fear of – data.
Original languageDanish
JournalJournal of Education Policy
Publication statusPublished - 25 Oct 2019

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