Department of Culture and Learning

Members and Affiliates


Christian Ydesen

Christian Ydesen is a professor at the Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University, Denmark. He is the PI of the project ‘The Global History of the OECD in education’ funded by the Aalborg University talent programme and the project 'Education Access under the Reign of Testing and Inclusion’ funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark. He has been a visiting scholar at Edinburg University (2008-2009, 2016), Birmingham University (2013), Oxford University (2019), and Milan University (2021) and published several chapters and articles on topics such as educational testing, international organisations, accountability, educational psychology and diversity in education from historical and international perspectives. He currently serves as an executive editor of the European Educational Research Journal.

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Islam Abuasaad

Islam Abuasaad, has recently finished her PhD project at the Laboratory for the Study of Pedagogy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. Her PhD title was: "Teacher Professional Pedagogical Discourse in Arab Education in Israel". Her research explores how social-cultural and political context shapes teacher professional discourse patterns. She received her MA in early childhood education at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Her thesis was titled: "The Links Between Parental Control Strategies and Children's Behavioral-Emotional Outcomes in the Arab Society in Israel". (


Alison Milner

Alison Milner is a postdoctoral researcher on the Sapere Aude funded project ‘Education Access under the Reign of Testing and Inclusion’ (PI Christian Ydesen). She has a PhD in Education, an MA in Educational Leadership and Management and an MA in Educational Research Methods from the University of Nottingham, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (Modern Foreign Languages) from the University of Oxford. Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), her thesis is entitled ‘Teacher Professionalism from the Margins: a Critical Discourse Analysis of the policies and politics of governance in England and Sweden’. Her research interests include teachers’ work, professionalism and policies of professional learning and development in the context of multi-scalar modes of governance. She has experience as a research assistant on four European Commission-funded research projects related to education trade union capacity building.

Tali Aderet-German

Postdoc Tali Aderet-German is a researcher on the Sapere Aude funded project ‘Education Access under the Reign of Testing and Inclusion’ (PI Christian Ydesen). She is currently stationed in Israel, gathering data for the project. She has been a postdoctoral researcher at the Laboratory for the Study of Pedagogy at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev studying organizational and pedagogical aspects of the scaling-up of a state-wide reform. Her PhD, carried out at the University of Haifa, examined a school network self-evaluation process. Her research focuses on the intersection between educational policy and school practices, in particular school evaluation practices. This includes examining the relationships between educators' policy enactments and the contexts in which they work.


Clara Gobbée

Clara Gobbée is an Educational Science undergraduate student at the Universidad de San Andrés in Argentina. She is currently working as a junior research assistant in Buenos Aires. Her research interests include admission processes in elite schools, inequality in education, and educational policy.

Ezequiel Gomez Caride

Ezequiel Gomez Caride earned his Ph.D. in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is a postdoc on the project "Education Access Under the Reign of Testing and Inclusion". He has published several books and articles from a comparative perspective and has presented his research in a variety of international conferences. He was a Fulbright Scholar (2008-2010) and a Weinstein Distinguished Graduate Fellowship (2012-2013) at UW-Madison. In 2014, he received a post-doctoral fellowship from the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET), Argentina.  Ezequiel is currently stationed in his home country of Argentina collecting data on the project. 


Youjin Ruan

Youjin Ruan finished her PhD project at Aalborg University (AAU) in 2015, and received her MA in Applied Linguistic from Beijing Normal University in 2010. Her PhD dissertation is titled Learner Motivation in Teaching and Learning Chinese as A Foreign Language – Why Does Teaching and Learning Method Matter? which draws inspirations from motivation, learning and culture theories. Since 2017, she has been involved in a Sino-Danish faculty development research project at The Aalborg Centre for Problem Based Learning in Engineering Science and Sustainability, AAU and UNESCO. Her main research interests are learner-centered teaching and learning in higher education (i.e., task-based teaching and learning, problem-based learning), motivation for learning, pedagogical design and faculty development.

Link to research profile 

Simon Holleufer

Simon Holleufer is currently a Research Assistant on the Sapere Aude funded project ‘Education Access under the Reign of Testing and Inclusion’ (PI Christian Ydesen) and also at the Centre for Education Policy Research (CfU) at the Department of Culture and Learning, Aalborg University. He holds an MA in History with Spanish as minor from Aalborg University. His research interests include policy enactments, importance of geopolitics, education history and green transition.


Avi Allalouf

Dr. Avi Allalouf has received his PhD in Psychology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (1995) and held a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst (1997). He is the Deputy Director of Scoring & Equating at the National Institute for Testing and Evaluation (NITE). In this position he is responsible for the scoring & equating processes of the university entrance and other tests conducted by NITE, including the Psychometric Entrance Test (PET). Since 2018, Dr. Allalouf leads the certification program in psychometrics. He is teaching at the Academic College of Tel-Aviv–Yaffo.   


Felicitas Acosta

Felicitas Acosta is a researcher and professor of History of Education, Comparative Education and Educational Foundations at Universidad Nacional de General Sarmiento, Argentina. Her research interests focus on the expansion of schooling from a comparative and historical perspective and circulation of international educational policies. She has specialized in the study of secondary education in Europe and Latin America. At present, her research interest also includes international standardized assessments and innovative finance in education.


Jo-Anne Baird

Jo-Anne Baird is a Director of the Department of Education and Professor of Educational Assessment, University of Oxford, England. Her first degree and doctorate were in psychology and she has an MBA. Before coming to, Jo-Anne held academic posts at the Institute of Education, University of London and the University of Bristol. Jo-Anne previously held the position of Head of Research at the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, where she managed the research programme and was responsible for the standard-setting systems for public examinations.

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Liu Baocun

Dr. Liu Baocun is a professor of comparative education and the director of the Institute of International and Comparative Education (IICE) at Beijing Normal University. He is also the director of the National Center for Comparative Education at Beijing Normal University, the director of the National Center for International Education at Beijing Normal University.


Thomas S. Popkewitz

Thomas S. Popkewitz is a Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, The University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His studies are concerned with the systems of reason that govern curriculum reforms, the sciences of education, and teacher education.  His current research concerns the changing relations of science, society and policy in international assessments of education, curriculum history and the cultural history of education, the history of post-World War social and education sciences.  


associated members

Ida Spangsberg Hansen

Ida Spangsberg Hansen is a PhD student and has a background as a primary- and lower secondary school teacher and an MA in pedagogical psychology. In her PhD project, Ida investigates how inclusion and exclusion are produced in and around the school community. Her focus in the project is on school professionals: teachers, pedagogues, leaders and resource personnel, and the effects of their approach to exclusion and pupils in marginalized positions. Ida’s research interests include inclusion and exclusion processes, inequality and neo-materialism. 


Paola Mattei

Since January 2018, I am Associate Professor of Political Science at the Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milan, Italy. My research concerns comparative welfare reforms, comparative public policy, with a focus on educational institutions, systems, and reforms in France, Italy, and England. My current research programme focuses on schools, accountability, evaluation, and public engagement initiatives.

I was awarded my PhD from the Department of Government at the London School and Economics in 2005. Upon completion of my doctorate, I was recipient of the T.H. Marshall Fellowship at the Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science (2005-2008). This was externally funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and the Transformation of the State Research Centre Sfb 597, University of Bremen.


Thomas Thyrring Engsig

Thomas Thyrring Engsig is Associate Professor (Docent) at UC of Northern Denmark’s research program for Children and Youth at Risk and Inequalities in Educational Opportunities. Thomas Engsig's research interest are inclusive and supportive education, teacher education, international and comparative education, disability studies, and equity and social justice in education. Thomas was a visiting scholar at University of Minnesota in 2013 and is currently Research Associate at The Global Resource Center on Inclusive Education, University of Minnesota. 

Zhanxin Hao

Zhanxin is a doctoral student in education at the University of Oxford. Her research interests include the assessment policy, standards of high-stakes tests, assessment for learning and test preparation. Zhanxin took her undergraduate study at Beijing Normal University. She joined several research projects which mainly focused on the equity and inclusion of primary education and the school integration situation of underprivileged children. She got her Master’s degree from the Institute of Education, UCL. In her Master’s dissertation, Zhanxin explored how do primary teachers in two case Chinese schools perceive and practice Assessment for Learning (AfL). After graduating from UCL, she started her doctoral study at the University of Oxford in October 2018. Her DPhil thesis aims to explore the effects of test preparation in different test contexts.


Danny Thøgersen

Danny Thøgersen holds an MA in Learning and Innovative Change from Aalborg University, and a PB in pedagogy from VIA University College Aarhus, as well as several subjects from BSc in Education Science from Aarhus University. Danny is currently working as a external lecturer and educator at a private program of training, Camp Future. His research interest are inclusion and exclusion processes, enactment, evaluation, sustainability, pedagogy, organizational learning and the transferability of learning.

Nanna Ramsing Enemark

Nanna Ramsing Enemark holds an MA in Learning and Innovative Change from Aalborg University and a BA in Politics and Administration from Aalborg University. She is currently a PhD Fellow at Centre for Education Policy Research (CfU) at the Department of Culture and Learning. Her research interests include the Welfare State, migrant education, international education and policy development and enactment. 


Tanushree Sarkar

Tanushree Sarkar is a doctoral candidate in the Community Research and Action program at Peabody College, Vanderbilt University, and has an MSc. in Social and Cultural Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. A recipient of the Margaret McNamara Education Grant, Tanushree’ s research interests include international education policy, inclusive pedagogy, decolonial studies, and teacher education. Drawing on disability studies, policy enactment, and critical policy analysis, her dissertation research examines how teachers navigate school-NGO partnerships implementing inclusive education in low-fee private schools and public-private partnership-run schools in India.


Jean Claude Couture

J-C Couture is an adjunct colleague and instructor at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education and the faculty of education, University of Alberta. His current work includes the development of graduate courses that engages futures studies to build capacity in educational leadership and governance. Formerly a Research Fellow, Manchester Metropolitan University, he is also active in supporting the Education Futures Partnership, a nascent network of scholars and teacher organization officials dedicated to rethinking the relationship between the academy and teacher organizations.