Disciplining leaders

A critical discourse analysis of the ISLLC National Examination and Performance Standards in educational administration

Gary Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

Norman Fairclough's three-dimensional approach to discourse analysis is used in an evaluation of the ISLLC National Standards in Educational Administration and of the sample exam questions from Educational Testing Service produced test bulletin for the exam that was developed to enforce the Standards. The Standards themselves are found to contain a hodge-podge of 'floating signifiers', i.e. language that can mean different things to different people as well as language meant to please multiple constituencies. It is suggested that, as a legitimation strategy, the Standards might have political utility in the sense that it might shore up the field's declining legitimacy. The exam, complete with rubrics, is another matter. Implicit in the language of the exam is a focus on control, public relations, deficit theories of children and poor communities, avoidance of controversy, glibness and anti-intellectualism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Leadership in Education
Volume4
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

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performance standard
discourse analysis
leader
examination
language
legitimation
floating
bulletin
deficit
legitimacy
Critical discourse analysis
Performance standards
Educational administration
Disciplining
Education
Critical Discourse Analysis
evaluation
community
Language

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Strategy and Management

Cite this

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abstract = "Norman Fairclough's three-dimensional approach to discourse analysis is used in an evaluation of the ISLLC National Standards in Educational Administration and of the sample exam questions from Educational Testing Service produced test bulletin for the exam that was developed to enforce the Standards. The Standards themselves are found to contain a hodge-podge of 'floating signifiers', i.e. language that can mean different things to different people as well as language meant to please multiple constituencies. It is suggested that, as a legitimation strategy, the Standards might have political utility in the sense that it might shore up the field's declining legitimacy. The exam, complete with rubrics, is another matter. Implicit in the language of the exam is a focus on control, public relations, deficit theories of children and poor communities, avoidance of controversy, glibness and anti-intellectualism.",
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