Questions posed by the Pisa international school tests

In both your news report (UK schools failing to climb global league table, December 7) and your editorial (Slicing up the Pisa results) you make the mistake, common throughout the media and across many commentators, of assuming that the results from the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment, tell us anything useful about the relative performance of different educational systems. Each of the 70 or so countries taking part in Pisa has a unique educational curriculum, structure and method of delivery, that reflect tradition, politics and social norms, and it makes…

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PISA teaches us a lot on education

Football fans must wait four years between World Cups. Education nerds get their fill of global competition every three. The sixth Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a test of the science, maths and reading skills of 15-year-olds from across the world, was published by the OECD club of mainly rich countries on December 6th. Its results have telling lessons for policymakers worldwide. Some 540,000 pupils in 72 countries or regions—each of whom had finished at least six years of school—sat similar tests last year. The OECD then crunched the…

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