It’s PISA time again! Every three years, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) conducts tests on the Reading, Science and Mathematics understanding and ability of some 600,000 fifteen-year-old students from 78 participating countries. This is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
The students tested have to be between 15 years and 3 months and 16 years and 2 months at the beginning of the assessment period, and must be at school (no home-schooled students). The tests are written in the children’s home language and are culturally neutral.
The results of the 2018 PISA study were released recently, and the rankings are somewhat predictable (attached for your reference).
The survey compares the ability of students to perform in an exam situation. My view of education is a bit broader than that (I do not believe that the purpose of education is to produce kids who are good at exams), so I would be hesitant to equate a country’s PISA ranking with “quality of education”.
And how reliable are the results? Do they really compare representative samples from different countries? If you Google “Why does China do so well in PISA?” you’ll discover that things are not always exactly as they seem.
Some may ask “Where is India?” and the answer is that India does not participate. They did once in 2009, but the results were not very good so they stopped participating. (Google “India PISA 2009”)
India now plans to once again participate in the 2021 PISA study, using students in Chandigarh, from Indian central government schools, known as Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas (I hope I’ve spelled that correctly!). It will be interesting to see the results.
Results from the PISA study can have a profound effect on national education systems. In the 2001 PISA study, Germany was so unhappy with their poor results that they felt they had to do something about it. And they did. They doubled the nation’s spending on education, because they felt that the children were the nation’s most valuable natural resource, holding the future of the country in their little hands.
Somebody smarter than me once said…
“If you’re planning for next year, plant rice.
If you’re planning for the next ten years, plant trees.
If you’re planning for the next hundred years, educate children.”
As always, love to hear your comments – firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of School - OGC Campus
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