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Title: A philosophical investigation into the concept of quality in education
Author: Stagg-Jones, Pamela
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2008
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My thesis is a philosophical conversation inquiring into the concept of quality and excellence in education. I present an argument that supports the technical appropriation of business models of quality in those aspects of state education that are preoccupied with accountability. My argument does not support the assessing of quality or of excellence in teaching with performance checklists or tests results. Philosophical texts, relevant educational literature and government papers are consulted, and these inform the analysis of conversations with teacher colleagues. The conversations give rise to a possible new theory of quality based on teachers’ moral integrity and professional judgement. I study the work of industrialists Juran and Demming and the success of the quality movement in industry in the twentieth century. I review some of the innovative practices in the 1990s that teachers engaged in following an industrial model of quality. I study the relevant philosophy of Plato and Dewey after analysing the conversations about quality that I have with practising teachers. I write dialogues as a self-study in an attempt to reconceptualise the strands of the concept of education of quality in education. I propose a theory based on moral principles that runs counter to the prevailing ethos of performativity. The inappropriateness of the industrial model in assessing quality in education is clearly articulated in the teachers’ conversations. The stories transparently reveal that education is more a moral endeavour than a business or managerial enterprise. The stories indicate that there can be no predetermined definitive list, nor any measurable means of evaluating the concept of quality that gets to the heart of the matter. There can be degrees of excellence in judging teachers’ performance according to required outcomes, but this does not relate to the intrinsic aims of education.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available