Data Visualisation #8

“Teacher governance through data”

This week I reflected on some of the forms teaching practice is governed through data. This week I identified four forms I thought I was directly or indirectly ‘governed through data. The first example is through the use of a Learning Management System (LMS) where the performance of teachers is evaluated through the number of assignments created, how quickly feedback is given back to the students, the number of formative and summative assignments register, etc.

In the last few months I have also felt the need (or some sort of pressure) to have my online presence indicator in Teams in green (available) to show I’m working. Maybe this is just a personal issue, and although as many teachers around the world I work extra hours on the weekend or after school depending on the amount of work. However, I think it can be used as a form of control or governance in some situations to track productivity and work hours.

Student achievement levels could be said to be one of the most common form of productivity and success measurement of teachers. In educational settings where scores and standardised tests are very important to the school or local government, the teacher’s grade book.

Finally, another form of teacher governance, in my opinion, is a form of ‘visible teaching’, which involves active participations in social media or other social platforms to showcase the learning by teachers. Teachers who are not active in social media or do not showcase their work regularly, might be considered as not creative enough or even as if learning is not happening unless it’s visible to others.

One Reply to “Data Visualisation #8”

  1. Your point about feeling like you need to have your Teams indicator showing green for being “working” is, I think, a key way data-centred technologies govern our behaviours. We internalize the pressures of the software, changing how we act to make sure we are generating the “right” data to demonstrate we are “good” workers, teachers, or students. There is some resonance in your observation here with arguments that “the boss is an algorithm”, perhaps. You want to satisfy the boss. In a sense, maybe the LMS now has a more boss-like role in education institutions, especially given your observations about its use to govern teachers. What the LMS “indicates” about teacher performance, however thin and decontextualized, might affect how the individual teacher responds–to craft a satisfactory performance profile–as much as it might prompt some other management intervention. We begin to act on ourselves in relation to the data, even while knowing its limitations. Is this an empowering form of governance, enabling individuals to improve themselves, or intrusive governance that could lead to anxiety and superficial attempts to “please” the metrics without really improving anything meaningful?

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