In particular, the ability to evaluate children's learning as well as programme 'outcomes' has seen the greatest degree of rigour and academic/professional depth. Suddenly, there is a large number of agencies undertaking research, assessment and evaluation, and 'data' related activities such as monitoring / tracking. And we have people who have studied in places such as Harvard / Cambridge etc. evaluating the work of those who went to somewhat less distinguished schools/universities, studied courses that didn't really prepare them to design or execute brilliant programmes.... And who, of course, are not really able to get teachers to be more committed or display innovation or even basic professional capabilities. Interestingly though, the various studies / data bases + analyses by the highly qualified minds come up with results that their less qualified counterparts can quite accurately predict beforehand!
So why are the highly qualified academics/professionals so involved with evaluation and planning rather than actually getting things done? I believe because it is EASIER - easier to point out what is going wrong than actually make it better, easier to give 'recommendations' than nitty-gritty details that might lead to improvement (and which you can learn only if you really dirty your hands and undergo the deep frustration that teaches you what works or doesn't).
Perhaps all this is doing a disservice - certainly more and more people in the system are coming to believe that whatever they do is not going to work, and will probably not stand up to the 'scrutiny' of these 'intelligent and knowledgeable' people. There is also a tendency to focus on what will 'please the researchers' - hence some states devalue all-round education to emphasize only reading and writing and numeracy; or are forever 'piloting' aspects that should be well-known after so many decades and therefore diverting energy from larger systemic reform that is required post-RTE. Looks like the law of unintended consequences is beginning to operate...
[At a later date I hope to write a more 'researched' and 'data/evidence-backed' piece elaborating on this - in the meantime, comments really welcome!]