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18 - 21 June 2012 - Salamanca, Spain

The topic of the Conference, "Empires, Post-coloniality and Interculturality: Comparative Education between Past, Post, and Present", reflects some of the major scholarly issues in which academics, researchers, policy analysts and students in the field of comparative education are currently concerned and engaged with.

Working Groups 5 and 6 are particularly relevant. Working group 5 focuses on the preferences for 'getting the facts' and for seeing the role of comparative investigation as being linked to the improvement of educational policy. This has led most recently to a considerable growth in international studies of achievement — e.g., TIMSS, PISA and PIRLS, accompanied by an increasingly international discourse about economic competition, quality enhancement and accountability in education, and notions of effective and efficient schooling. Workshop 5 will address the usefulness of such phenomena and for whom and in what ways are such tools relevant? The workshop will also discuss the implications for educational reform and the concept of education itself of these new 'politics of ranking'. Does this constitute a new form of 'comparative education' and — if it is — how we might understand it and relate it to our traditional forms of 'comparative education'.

Working group 6 focuses on international cooperation and its implications for comparative analysis. Addressing questions such as 'what world do these new forms of educational action, this form of international cooperation, call into being? The workshop will look at how such cooperation calls into question notions of 'evidence-informed' policy and practice in education and thus, definitions of 'evidence' and 'rigour' and 'relevance' in educational research across different contexts. Other issues that the workshop will address include the groups of users and other stakeholders that are involved in shaping knowledge-informed policy and practice in education. What kind of infrastructure, mechanisms and processes enable mutual learning and the exchange of good practices across borders? What is the criteria of defining 'good practice' and what kind of research is used in the framing of educational policy proposals in the EU, OECD, World Bank, UNESCO and other organisations? What is the impact of international coordination and priorities of educational research in Europe on research policies at national and institutional level, and choices of individual researchers as well?

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