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Eric.ed.gov – Commentary on the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment 2012

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Every three years the focus of the international education community shifts to the release of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). No other international study of education commands as much attention as PISA. In an age of intense global competition among information-based economies where education is increasingly viewed as an important (if not the most important) national “competitive advantage”, in less than two decades, PISA has become the widely used if inadequate proxy for the performance of education systems around the world. The OECD’s interest in education in the service of human capital development and economic growth is of course not surprising given the organization’s focus. The expansion of PISA to include the assessment of financial literacy demonstrates the narrow goals driving the program. The number of participating countries/economies grows with each testing cycle–countries increasingly feel they cannot be left out of this influential test. PISA 2012 tested over half a million 15-year-old students in 65 participating countries and economies (between 5,000 and 10,000 students from at least 150 schools were tested in each country). The major focus of the survey was mathematics, with a secondary focus on reading, science and problem-solving. As noted, financial literacy was included for the first time in 2012. The assessment is a paper-based test lasting 2 hours with an additional 40 minutes added in some countries for a computer-based assessment of math, reading and problem-solving. PISA 2015 is expected to transition to a fully computer-based assessment. This brief commentary provides highlights of the Canadian PISA results, comments on the obsessive focus on rankings, and discusses how to tackle inequity within and outside the education system. The commentary goes on to explore the elements of educational success–the teaching profession and teacher unions and PISA’s impact on education policy in Canada.

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Troels Gannerup Christensen

Jeg er ansat som adjunkt hos Læreruddannelsen i Jelling, hvor jeg underviser i matematik, specialiseringsmodulet teknologiforståelse, praktik m.m. Jeg har tidligere været ansat som pædagogisk konsulent i matematik og tysk hos UCL ved Center for Undervisningsmidler (CFU) i Vejle og lærer i udskolingen (7.-9. klasse) på Lyshøjskolen i Kolding. Jeg er ejer af og driver bl.a. hjemmesiderne www.lærklokken.dk og www.iundervisning.dk, ggbkursus.dk og er tidligere fagredaktør på matematik på emu.dk. Jeg går ind for, at læring skal være let tilgængelig og i størst mulig omfang gratis at benytte.

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