The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) causes a flurry of interest in educational and political circles when newspapers report the publicly released ‘rankings’, often highlighting the ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ like some international sporting competition. Then all is seemingly forgotten, just when robust debate about our educational strategies is needed. Stephen Downes posted about this issue last year.
The following animation is a good overview of PISA for and worth watching for the entire 12 minutes.
Hat tip: Ollie Bray
Frankly, we need more politicians and educational strategists leading a public discussion aimed at strengthening our education systems based on this data. There is not enough honest discussion about what does the data reveals and how can we make improvements, even where they are potentially politically unpalatable.
How do some students overcome their socio-economic background?
This is the question that I would like explored publicly and explored properly! All parents, educators and politicians reading this release from PISA would be a start. I love the idea of mentoring students from disadvantaged backgrounds being a community contribution that business people, successful adults and retirees consider on a regular basis. It would be a great advertising campaign in a time when so many people are worrying about the future of civil societies and the health of our democracies. We could focus on building resilience and not just rely on our education systems and the people working within them but a much larger group of adults, many advantaged, prosperous and well-positioned to provide support.
It is interesting, no, fascinating to note that the ‘top of the scale’, for providing opportunities for disadvantaged students, do not include (m)any constitutional monarchies. Of concern, is that the data suggests that both Australia and Denmark have relatively poor equity for students. We know this but what practically is happening to turn this around?