Real-time Grade Books and the Quantified Student*

Metric Culture

ISBN: 978-1-78743-290-1, eISBN: 978-1-78743-289-5

Publication date: 24 September 2018


School districts across the United States have adopted web-based student information systems (SIS) that offer parents, students, teachers and administrators immediate access to a variety of data points on each individual. In this chapter, I offer findings from in-depth interviews with school stakeholders that demonstrates how some students, typically ‘high performers’, are drawn into ‘pushed self-tracking’ (Lupton, 2016) of their academic achievement metrics, obsessively monitoring their grades and other quantified measures through digital devices, comparing their performance to other students and often generating a variety of affective states for themselves. I suggest that an SIS functions as a neoliberal technology of childhood government with these students internalising and displaying the self-governing capacities of ‘enterprise’ and ‘autonomy’ (Rose, 1996). These capacities are a product of and reinforce the metric culture of the school.



William G. Staples (2018). 'Real-time Grade Books and the Quantified Student* ', in Btihaj Ajana (ed.) Metric Culture. Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 197-216

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