The results from the 2012 PISA tests will be made public two weeks from today – the world awaits with bated breath to see how samples of 15 year old students in OECD countries compare educationally with each other, at least in reading, maths and science.
I’ve blogged before about the mad scramble by national ministers for high enough positions on global education league tables. The Finnish educationist Pasi Sahlberg has a great set of slides illustrating some of the contextual issues around the PISA results for his country, which is regularly considered to be towards the top of the education system. Education blogger Lucy Crehan is visiting a range of countries to get beyond the statistics and find out what is really happening in classrooms. Finally, my business behr outcomes is currently working on a project asking chemistry education experts about key facets of initial teacher education/training in their countries – we know that the quality of student learning is linked to the quality of those teaching it.
Despite these and many other attempts to get away from using simplified assessment outcomes, global education appears to be going the way of the Olympics where every 4 years basic targets are set for national performance – sports teams that fail to win enough gold, silver and bronze medals have their state-funded training budgets slashed, while at the same time pressure is stepped up on weeding out performance enhancing drugs.
There are international olympiads in a range of ‘science’ subjects, so the education analogue of the Olypmics has been around for a while, but could we see all PISA students undergoing highly intensified coaching (as in certain Asian ‘Tiger’ nations) and random drugs tests after they sit their international exams?
Shocking though this seems, I wouldn’t necessarily bet against it in the current highly political climate of education.