Moving Beyond the Drama and Hyperbole that Dominate International Test Score Results

Moving Beyond the Drama and Hyperbole that Dominate International Test Score Results. The Guardian newspaper published a series of articles the 2013 PISA international test results.  In this post I want to focus on the article written by Finnish educator and scholar Pasi Sahlberg entitled, PISA 2012 scores show the failure of ‘market based’ education reform (Sahlberg, Pasi, 2013). Sahlberg is Director General of International Centre at the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture in Helsinki. … Read more

Does High Stakes Testing Produce Students Who are “Study Machines?”

Does High Stakes Testing Produce Students Who are “Study Machines?”

According to Emma Vanbergen, Shangahi-based study abroad director for BE Education, a company that places Chinese students in British schools and universities, it’s not surprising that Shanghai students are rated at the top of PISA World League Standings.

Why does she think so?

She says that the city schools are the most competitive in a country (China) where getting high scores on exams is the goal of education.… Read more

PISA Headlines from the UK: World League Standings!

As in America, the U.K. and European newspapers are having a field day reporting the results of the 2012 PISA results.   Here are few that I’ve read.

One of the sub-headlines reads: UK teenagers slip down world league in maths, science and reading.… Read more

PISA Day: Your education today is your economy tomorrow

“Your education today is your economy tomorrow,” is a quote from Andreas Schleicher from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), who has become one of the world’s most influential figures in education. I took this statement off the PISA Day website.  In the view of Mr. Schleicher, a nation’s economy hinges on education (performance).  Although there is data to refute this, organizations such OECD, make the claim that your student’s performance on school tests will have a major impact on the nation’s economy.… Read more

Schools Stuck at Back of the Class According To Forthcoming PISA International Test Results

According to today’s lead newspaper story, the results to be released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), show the  country has simply “stagnated” since its lackluster performance four years ago.  The OECD results will be announced on Tuesday.

According to OECD 2009 test data, average score for the country’s fifteen year olds fell in maths, reading and science.  Scores are expected to fall further when the 2013 results are available on Tuesday.

According to one senior education official, the latest PISA results are a “wake up call” for school policy.  … Read more

Misconceptions about International Math & Science Test Scores

Why is it that the perception of science education in the U.S. (and other countries as well) is driven by rankings of students on international test score comparisons?  The perception is that U.S. students are not competitive in the global market place because of their position in the rankings of the scores obtained on tests such as PISA and TIMSS.

Yet, as Iris C. Rotberg has shown in her analysis of educational reforms on a global scale, most of the conclusions that we make based on international studies are not supported either by the findings or by research in general.… Read more

PISA Test Results Through the Lens of Poverty

PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, released results last month, and you would have thought the sky was falling if you listened to our Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.  PISA is an international assessment that is administered to 15 year-old students in participating countries. The PISA assessment has been administered in 200020032006 and 2009.  The 2009 test results were released in December 2010.  In 2009, 65 countries participated in the test.… Read more

Why Do We Teach Science, Anyway? The Democratic Argument

There are at least two interpretations that emerge when we explore why we teach science from the democratic argument.   The first interpretation is that we should be teaching science to help students become informed citizens in an increasingly technocratic and scientific world, and provide them with the tools to intelligently discuss, vote on, and make decisions about “modern life, politics and society.” (Turner, p. 10.)  But we also interpret the democratic argument in the context of democratic schools–that is schools in which students and teachers participate equally in shared decision-making on matters related to the organization of school, the curriculum and related matters.… Read more

Progressive Science Education

I have been reading and have referenced on this weblog the October 2009 special issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) on the topic/theme “Scientific Literacy and Contexts in PISA Science.”  The articles in the special issue provide a broad view of international testing as conceived in PISA, as well as the TIMSS.

One of the articles (by Sadler and Zeidler) which was focused on PISA and Socioscientific Discourse, used the term progressive science education as a way to describe a vision of science education that includes public understanding of science, humanistic science education, context-based science teaching, S-T-S, and socioscientific issues.  … Read more

Should PISA Type Assessments be used to evaluate Teacher Performance?

There is a clear mandate to build “data systems that measure student success and inform teachers and principals how they can improve their practices.” This is one of the “reform areas” in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top Fund. A second area of reform is the adoption of internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace. There are two other areas including the recruitment of effective teachers and principals, and an effort to turn around the lowest-performing schools.… Read more