The Emperor's perfect map: leadership by numbers

Heffernan, Amanda (2016) The Emperor's perfect map: leadership by numbers. The Australian Educational Researcher, 43 (3). pp. 377-391. ISSN 0311-6999


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.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2016 01:38
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 01:52
Uncontrolled Keywords: school principals; school improvement; data; performativity
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1007/s13384-016-0206-7

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