We are honored to have Ted Porter (UCLA) and Tom Popkewitz (UW-Madison) joining us in Atlanta for a Presidential Highlighted Session titled Problematizing Measurement and Evidence. Professor Popkewitz’s talk will be titled Romancing Methods: Historicizing How Theory Acts as “the Retrieval” of Comparative Studies. It argues that method is reasoned as the modern answer to the Alchemists’ Philosopher’s Stone, with comparativists, for example, dreaming of numbers as the expert manifestation of global competence. The result is that science is nothing except deciding method without attention paid to the ways that theories, methods, and modes of interpretation are “locked” together in styles of reasoning. Professor Porter’s talk will be titled Indicator Problems: What Happen in the Spaces between Measures and Objectives? It will examine the gap between indicators and the goals or objects they are intended to define, in order to illustrate how these measurements can go astray, especially, as with schools, when the things measured are governed by heterogeneous laws and regulations.
Theodore M. Porter is Distinguished Professor of History at UCLA. His books include The Rise of Statistical Thinking and Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life. His Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Scientific Age examines issues of quantification and objectivity from the perspective of the life of an eminent quantifier.
Thomas S. Popkewitz is Professor in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work examines the knowledge or systems of reason that govern educational policy and research. His books include Cosmopolitanism and the Age of School Reform.