new DSS article in British Journal of Educational Studies

We are really pleased to announce the publication of another article – “Knowing the (datafied) student: the production of the student subject through school data“. In this article we examine how schools frame what can (and cannot) be ‘known’ about students through the data that is processed and produced through institutional digital systems and technologies.

In particular, the paper contrasts the ‘holistic’ possibilities that some school leaders and administrators ascribe to data in terms of expanding the capacity to ‘know’ students, against the limited ways that data is actually being used within the schools. Most notably, the paper details how digital data appears to be configured within schools’ official data procedures and practices to build student subjectivities and position students in narrow terms of performance and attendance.

The paper also highlights how teachers make practical use of these limited data ‘profiles’ in a relational manner – as a way of stimulating dialogue with students to know them better, rather than a source of precise calculation. In this sense, the paper considers how ‘data’ might be reframed in educational discourse as a practical starting-point for teacher inquiry and professional judgment rather than an imagined source of all-encompassing knowledge.