Eric.ed.gov – The OECD, PISA and the Impacts on Educational Policy

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Large-scale assessment regularly takes place in most jurisdictions across Canada, a fact not lost on the Fraser Institute and other right wing think tanks such as AIMS (Atlantic Institute for Market Studies) which use the test results as the primary basis for compiling school rankings at both the elementary and secondary level (see Gutstein, 2010). The frequency of external testing at different levels (provincial/territorial, national, international)–coupled with the high visibility accorded by the mainstream media to the results, usually in the form of league tables, and the imperatives of short term political mandates–have all contributed to a focus on improving one’s position within the list of rankings, as well as to a narrow focus on the tested subjects–math, science, reading. In this era of accountability-by-numbers, the elevated status accorded to large-scale external assessments such as PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results is symptomatic of a trend towards data-driven policy initiatives in education, and the need for regular sources of outcome data to constantly feed narrow indicators of accountability. The dilemma facing teachers and teaching, a profession “typically driven by ethical motive or intrinsic desire,” is that it is caught between two competing forces in schools: “Teachers try to balance their work between the moral purpose of student-centred pedagogy within education as a public good, on one hand, and the drive for higher standards through perceived efficiency of the presentation-recitation mode of instruction and the perspective of education as a private good.” This publication discusses the following topics: (1) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)–education indicators and international surveys; (2) PISA’s impact on education policy; (3) PISA criticisms at a glance; and (4) Some observations on PISA’s influence in Canada. (Contains 3 endnotes and 40 references and sources.)

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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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