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Academic critical of Pisa test influence on policy

Published tisdag 6 december 2016 kl 14.24
Stockholm University professor: OECD are unaccountable
(4:43 min)
Student looking at tablet computer
Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

While Sweden’s improvement in the latest round of the OECD’s educational tests has generally been met with relief, Radio Sweden spoke to one academic who questioned why the results had come to be seen as so important.

Following the release of the 2012 Pisa results, Paul Andrews, who is a professor of mathematics education at Stockholm University, signed a letter sent to the OECD which said the Pisa tests were damaging education.

“I would still make the same arguments,” he said. “Increasingly the evidence we’re finding is that whatever the Pisa scores say, they don’t necessarily reflect what the students know or can do.”

He said Swedish students performed well when they did tests that mattered to them individually but did not make as much of an effort when it came to the Pisa tests, as the results would have no bearing on their grades.

Andrews is worried that the results of the tests end up dictating government education policy.

“The OECD… they’re not accountable,” he said. “They have no democratic accountability whatsoever and for a country like Sweden where democracy is so deep rooted in the structures of the country, to allow the OECD fundamentally to influence how education should be managed and the direction it should take completely flies in the face of the fact that every culture has unique characteristics, unique perspectives on what it wants its people to become.”

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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