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Literacy and numeracy, because of the role they play in individual success and national progress, are subject to continuous public and political scrutiny. This research asks some key questions concerning the genesis of literacy and numeracy debates in western society, generally, and in the United States, England, Canada and Australasia, more specifically. It asks: how are such debates sustained, amplified and promoted to the status of a national crisis? Under what conditions are such debates translated to legislative and regulatory action, leading to major nation-wide curriculum and assessment change? To what extent do debates in one country impact directly on debates in other western contexts? The project seeks to provide a response to these questions by examining relevant post-second world war debates and interrogating the often-hidden mechanisms that spark and spread concerns locally and internationally. A central focus of the interrogation is on the role that the concepts of excellence and equity play in the debates. Key periods of interest in all the case study nations are, namely, the second half of the 1950s; the early to mid-1970s; and the early 2000s. The findings of the project will form the basis of a book in the international series Palgrave Studies in Excellence and Equity in Global Education.
Prof Margaret Walshaw
Page authorised by Director, Institute of Education
Last updated on Tuesday 16 August 2016