Skip to main content

PISA’s Promise

The OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment has elicited considerable criticism. But, though there are significant challenges inherent in comparing schools across countries, PISA remains an invaluable tool for policymakers attempting to improve their national education systems.

PARIS – By assessing the capabilities and knowledge of students in the highest-performing and most rapidly improving education systems, the OECD’s Program for International Student Assessment provides valuable options for reform and information on how to achieve it. PISA brings together policymakers, educators, and researchers from around the world to discuss what knowledge students need to become successful and responsible citizens in today’s world, and how to develop more effective, inclusive education systems.

Some claim that the PISA results are based on too wide a range of factors to be relevant, while others point out the challenges inherent in testing students in various languages and with different cultural backgrounds. Of course, comparing education across countries is not easy, but PISA remains the most useful tool yet developed for policymakers attempting to improve their national education systems.

Before PISA, many governments claimed that they oversaw the world’s most successful education systems, and insisted that they had already taken the steps needed to address any shortcomings. By exposing weaknesses in a particular country’s system, PISA assessments help to ensure that policymakers recognize – and, it is hoped, address – remaining deficiencies.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/Yv8xrck;
  1. solana109_robert wallisCorbis via Getty Images_manhittingberlinwall Robert Wallis/Corbis via Getty Images

    The Partial Triumph of 1989

    Javier Solana

    The fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 marked the end not of a historical chapter, but of a paragraph. Although capitalism currently has no rival, it has proven its compatibility with illiberal forces.

    0
  2. sachs315_Pablo Rojas MadariagaNurPhoto via Getty Images_chileprotestmanbulletface Pablo Rojas Madariaga/NurPhoto via Getty Images

    Why Rich Cities Rebel

    Jeffrey D. Sachs

    Having lost touch with public sentiment, officials in Paris, Hong Kong, and Santiago failed to anticipate that a seemingly modest policy action (a fuel-tax increase, an extradition bill, and higher metro prices, respectively) would trigger a massive social explosion.

    4

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions