'Can you not afford a proper maths teacher?' Institutionalised individualisation, standardised testing, and the decline of teacher status

Research output: Other contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Teacher status is measured by social standing, career desirability, remuneration, trust, and autonomy. The status of teaching impacts teacher recruitment, retention, job satisfaction, performance, and importantly, student outcomes. Internationally, there has been ongoing concern about low teacher status.  Extant research in Australia, however, has focused on remuneration, a lack of professional autonomy, and an increasingly standardised curricula as key contributing factors. This research, however, considers the negative impact of standardised testing on teacher status. Nation-wide standardised testing was introduced in Australia as a direct effort to improve educational outcomes. Improvements would come, government argued, by making teachers accountable, to parents, through publicised results. Ten years since its introduction, however, results have not improved, and teachers have been left feeling both undermined and undervalued by these examinations. Utilising Beck’s theory of institutionalised individualisation, and findings from qualitative interviews with parents of students undertaking standardised testing, this research demonstrates how a government policy of standardised testing, and subsequent student performance data generated for parental consumption, undermines teacher status. Specifically, standardised testing, as a policy designed to promote individual choices and private solutions for children’s schooling through parental initiative, sees teachers framed not as competent professionals but as an educational risk parents must guard against.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 03 Dec 2019
EventSociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SAANZ) 2019 - University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
Duration: 03 Dec 201906 Dec 2019
https://www.saanz.net/conference2019/ (conference website)
https://saanz2019.sched.com/ (conference schedule)


ConferenceSociological Association of Aotearoa New Zealand (SAANZ) 2019
Abbreviated titleSociology for everyone
Country/TerritoryNew Zealand
Internet address


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