Illustrating the rising trend across education systems, the article examines the socio-historical constitution of the politics of pupil self-evaluation in the case of Finnish compulsory education assessment policy discourse. By studying self-evaluation as a ‘politics’, which, drawing on studies in governmentality, engages in the governing and shaping of educational practices, the conduct of teachers and pupils but also in the forming of pupils’ selves, the article challenges the mainstream understanding of self-evaluation as an apolitical technology of learning in pursuit of better learning outcomes, 21th century competencies and lifelong learning.
The study uses Finnish compulsory education curricular, legislative and policy documents from 1921 to 2020 as data. In the genealogical reading of data, the rise of the politics of pupil self- evaluation at the interface of discursive formations of assessment as a practice of discipline and truth about the pupil and the practice of self-disclosure and constitution was demonstrated. Consequently, pupil self-evaluation will be consolidated as a normal educational practice. Importantly, implying subjectifying power, a self-regulative and self-evaluative pupil subjectivity in compliance with the requirements of current globalized knowledge economy and evaluation society will be mobilized and called for.