The politics of education quality evaluation discussed at a research seminar in Moscow

Submitted on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 11:52

Members of the BCR research consortium travelled to their partner university in Moscow to present the results of their four-year comparative study on the politics of education quality evaluation in Brazil, China and Russia.

In recent decades, the issue of education quality has aroused increasing interest among international organisations and national policy-makers. Evaluation and data collection is framed as the key to quality assurance in education, so evaluation activities are growing in number and importance. They currently include large-scale assessments of student achievement, performance evaluations of school personnel, various rankings, inspections, and many more. While these activities aim to inform policy-making and stimulate improvements in teaching, international research shows that they produce controversial effects, and in some cases may undermine quality.

BCR seminar in Moscow
Photo: Helena Hinke Dobrochinski Candido

On November 28, 2017 members of the BCR research consortium which for four years studied education quality evaluation in a comparative perspective held a research seminar at the National Research University – Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia. The title of the seminar was “Changes in the politics of education quality evaluation: a comparative research of Brazil, China and Russia”. The presenters discussed how the international agenda on quality and its evaluation has changed national policies, and how this affected the basic conditions in which school education functions in Brazil, China, and Russia.

The seminar included four presentations. First, the consortium leader Jaakko Kauko (University of Tampere) outlined the theoretical and methodological grounding of the research project, and its key results. Then, Vera Centeno (University of Tampere) with the presentation “Participation of Brazil, China, and Russia in large-scale international assessments: reasons to participate and changes produced” described the broad context of the implementation of quality assurance and evaluation reforms in the three countries. Johanna Kallo (University of Turku) presented some results of the project from China in a talk titled “Reforms of Chinese education in the context of global trends in quality assurance and evaluation: reflections on the past, present and future”. Finally, Galina Gurova (University of Tampere) provided a glimpse at the local level of the study, discussing the “Reactions of schools in Russia to the changes in quality evaluation policy”. The presenters and other consortium participants – Helena Dobrochinski Candido (University of Tampere), Olli Suominen (University of Turku) and Tuomas Takala (University of Tampere) – then engaged in a lively discussion of the project results with the seminar discussants and participants. The seminar aroused interest among Russian education researchers and media, and was broadcast online to engage a wider audience.