Committing to School Development

Social and Material Entanglements

  • Eli Ottesen Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo
Keywords: education policy, actor-network theory, school development, school data, technology infrastructures


School leaders are faced with an unprecedented growth in school data accompanied by expectations that they use this data to improve their institutions. Current technologies enable complex processes of unifying and analysing data in personalised and accessible formats. This study investigates a tool developed by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training called the Point of View analysis (PoV). The PoV combines outcome-based data on achievement, data from staff surveys about current practices, and the staff’s reflections. A central tenet in Actor-Network Theory (ANT) is that material tools do not just regulate the activities of humans, but have their own agency and form relationships with their human counterparts. This analysis positions the PoV as an actor that may transform, distort, or modify meaning or elements. A content analysis of the PoV instrument is conducted, and interviews with three school principals who have used the tool are analysed. An ANT-inspired analytical approach is used to demonstrate how the PoV tool connects local practices with national policies and discourses in emerging and fluctuating networks. This analysis revealed that powerful policy discourses may be compromised by their entanglement with local and regional concerns.


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How to Cite
Ottesen, E. (2018). Committing to School Development. Nordic Journal of Comparative and International Education (NJCIE), 2(2-3), 181-195.