No time for PISA

Posted in: Comment, News and Updates

There was a headline in the Guardian recently which ran:

Global school tests under attack as OECD accused of killing 'joy of learning'

It began:

 Leading academics have accused the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) of acting as an unaccountable super-ministry of education which kills the "joy of learning" and turns schooling into "drudgery".   A letter signed by 120 leading academics and teachers from 12 countries – including Britain, the US and Germany – argues the OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests on 15-year-olds distort the curriculum, reduce teachers' autonomy and increase children's stress levels.

What tosh!  In England at any rate, this 'joy' was killed a long time ago by teachers preparing youngsters for GCSEs and their equivalents.  The idea that they'd also have the time to include PISA tests as well is ludicrous.  I note that no one from Wales signed the letter – probably because they rather like the idea of teaching children how to pass PISA tests – it's a strategy (their only one I think) for rising up the PISA league table.





Posted in: Comment, News and Updates


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  • It is worth noting that the PISA kill joy tail is now beginning to wag the higher education dog as this extract from the New York Times tells us. England came well below the average in the maths league table:
    "The OECD now uses a PISA-style approach to make comparisons of student achievement in higher education in a project called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (known as Piaac, sometimes called “pee-ack”). In 2011 and 2012, 166,000 adults ages 16 to 65 were tested in the O.E.C.D. countries (most of Europe along with the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan and South Korea) and Cyprus and Russia.
    Like PISA, Piaac tests people’s literacy and math skills. Because the test takers were adults, they were asked to use those skills in real-world contexts. They might, for example, be asked to read a news article and an email, each describing a different innovative method of improving drinking water quality in Africa, and identify the sentence in each document that describes a criticism common to both inventions. The test also included a measure of “problem-solving in technology-rich environments,” reflecting the nature of modern work."