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This article analyses the development of the profession of statistician in the central office of the French Ministry for Education from 1957 to 2007. Based on materials collected through qualitative research methods (interviews, document corpus analyses, archives and questionnaires) during a four-year’ sociological enquiry on organisms entrusted with assessment missions, it shows that this profession did not only develop according to technical and cognitive imperatives but also because of the bureaucratic and political stakes of the time. To be more specific, according to the historical and social configurations – taking into account four of their dimensions (statistical production organization, techniques, the tools and methods used, the socio-professional composition of the State department in question and the main professional differences within this department) – various historical figures are distinguished and established over time, such as “statistical administrators”, “Vanves statisticians” and “mirror statisticians”.

  • educational statistic
  • evaluation
  • educational administration
  • the profession of statistician
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