The Emperor’s perfect map: leadership by numbers

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper establishes that system-generated data profiles are influencing the work of principals in three Queensland state schools. Drawing upon Foucault’s notions of governance, as well as research emphasising performative cultures and the importance placed upon numbers and data in education, this paper uses the tale of the Emperor’s map as a metaphor to explore the way principals’ work is being influenced by specific sets of data compiled by the department. These data profiles are representative of external accountabilities and high stakes testing regimes, as seen in systems that have adopted neoliberal policies which attempt to quantify the work being undertaken in schools. The paper demonstrates that principals are being constructed in part by discourses from a system that emphasises these system-generated performance data as a driver for school improvement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-391
Number of pages15
JournalThe Australian Educational Researcher
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Data
  • Performativity
  • School improvement
  • School principals

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