The World's New Political Economy Is Politicizing Educational Evaluation

James W. Guthrie
Policy Analysis for California Education


Conventionally, educational evaluation has concentrated on measuring individual student achievement, appraising instructional methods and materials, and assessing program perfor­mance. Major issues in the field have been scholarly and methodological. The central career orientation of educational evaluators has been toward academic colleagues and practicing educators. However, contemporary education reform efforts aimed at using schooling to en­hance national economic development are altering this conventional orientation. Managerial expectations are replacing professional relations as the prime orientation of the enterprise, and the broader environment in which evaluation takes place is becoming intensely politicized. This essay explains the evolving human capital imperative and its relation to education; links these schooling changes to economic development; summarizes the historic orientation of the education evaluation field; suggests the evaluation dynamics which develop when govern­ments reshape schooling systems in order to enhance national economic growth; and outlines an alternative model for educational appraisal.

This article was originally published in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis by the American Educational Research Association and SAGE Publications.

Suggested citationGuthrie, J. W. (1991, October). The world's new political economy is politicizing educational evaluation [Article]. Policy Analysis for California Education.