We are very happy to have had a paper accepted for the annual American Educational Research Association meeting in San Francisco (April 2020).
Title: ‘Juking the stats?’: exploring the prevalence of ‘dirty data’ within schools
Abstract: This paper investigates the prevalence of ‘dirty data’ in schools – i.e. data that is derived from everyday practices that might be (un)intentionally partial, obfuscatory, and/or biased in some way. Drawing on a large-scale study of three Australian high schools, the paper highlights a range of data distortions that result from the everyday practices of school administrators, classroom teachers and students. Significantly, the motivations and rationales underlying such ‘dirty’ data-work were often found to reflect understandable motivations of compliance, performativity and/or a desire to ‘help’ others. Yet regardless of these well-intended origins, the paper also highlights the role of this distorted data in perpetuating various patterns of differentiation and discrimination within the schools.