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Education, Assessment, and the Desire for Dissonance

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Yusef Waghid and Nuraan Davids

Education, Assessment, and the Desire for Dissonance aims to address the contentious practice of assessment in schools and universities within a poststructuralist educational paradigm. Within the theoretical paradigm of Foucault’s (1994) notions of governmentality, subjectification and dissonance, the book examines why, through which and in which ways (how) educational assessment should unfold considering the challenges of globalized and cosmopolitan dimensions of educational change that have beset educational institutions. Waghid and Davids show how conceptual derivatives of Foucauldian governmentality, in particular the notions of power, panopticon and surveillance, dispositive, freedom and resistance—as relational concepts—affect assessment in universities and schools. The authors argue why universities and schools cannot be complacent or non-responsive to current understandings and practices of assessment. In the main, the authors contend that a Foucauldian notion of powerful, subjectified and dissonant assessment can, firstly, be extended to an Agambenian (2011) notion of a profane, denudified and rhythmic form of assessment; and secondly, be enhanced by a Derridian (1997) idea of friendship that bridges a Foucauldian view of governmental assessment with an Agambenian view of ethical assessment. Friendship allows people to act responsibly towards one another—that is, teachers and students acting responsibility towards one another—and resonates with an ongoing pursuit of rhythmic assessment practices. Such a form of assessment opens up an attentiveness to the incalculable and unexpected encounters that bear the responsibility of acting with one another. The authors conclude that an assessment with teaching and learning can transcend the limitations of an assessment of learning and an assessment for learning.

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Global Studies in Education is a book series that addresses the implications of the powerful dynamics associated with globalization for re-conceptualizing educational theory, policy and practice. The general orientation of the series is interdisciplinary. It welcomes conceptual, empirical and critical studies that explore the dynamics of the rapidly changing global processes, connectivities and imagination, and how these are reshaping issues of knowledge creation and management and economic and political institutions, leading to new social identities and cultural formations associated with education.

We are particularly interested in manuscripts that offer: a) new theoretical, and methodological, approaches to the study of globalization and its impact on education; b) ethnographic case studies or textual/discourse based analyses that examine the cultural identity experiences of youth and educators inside and outside of educational institutions; c) studies of education policy processes that address the impact and operation of global agencies and networks; d) analyses of the nature and scope of transnational flows of capital, people and ideas and how these are affecting educational processes; e) studies of shifts in knowledge and media formations, and how these point to new conceptions of educational processes; f) exploration of global economic, social and educational inequalities and social movements promoting ethical renewal.

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