PISA and Global Educational Governance

The PISA project has steadily increased its influence on the educational discourse and educational policies in the now 70 participating countries. The educational debate has become global, and the race to improve PISA-rankings has become high priority in many countries. For governments the PISA-test is a high-stake test. Governments are blamed for low scores, and governments are quick to take the honour when results are improving. National curricula, values and priorities are pushed aside. The influence of PISA is of high importance also for science educators; the battle to improve test results may conflict with our work to make science relevant, interesting and motivating for the learners. This article tries to unpack some of the challenges and to raise some of the problems caused by PISA as a global measure of quality.

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Sjøberg, S. (2015) PISA and Global Educational Governance – A Critique of the Project, its Uses and Implications. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 2015, 11(1), 111-127 doi: 10.12973/eurasia.2015.1310a

One thought on “PISA and Global Educational Governance

  1. Concerning validity of PISA items, there is a mistake of interpretation of a creative problem solving in PISA 2012.The 4h question of the MP3-Player Unit is: “Describe how you could change the way the MP3 player works so that there is no need to have the bottom button” (http://erasq.acer.edu.au/index.php?cmd=cbaItemPreview&unitId=21&item=4). Authors of the item write: “There is no single correct answer, and students may think creatively in devising a solution”. Nonetheless, they limit the number of correct answers to the six that are described in the guidelines. Other responses are not accepted and result in a score of 0 (!) (http://erasq.acer.edu.au/index.php?cmd=getCodingGuide&unitId=&unitId=21). Yet the authors’ list of correct answers is not complete: it includes neither double successive nor simultaneous clicks, even though “double-clicking” is a common ergonomic solution in modern devices. One can easily show that solutions based on different successive and simultaneous double-clicks should be included in the list of correct answers for the item (http://ssrn.com/abstract=2432598). “Standard lists of creative answers” seems to be an oxymoron. Interestingly that now, after this mistake, the authors of PISA do not use the word “creative” to describe their items at all.

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