The Global Education Race: Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing by Sam SellarThe Global Education Race: Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing by Sam Sellar

The Global Education Race: Taking the Measure of PISA and International Testing

bySam Sellar, Greg Thompson, David Rutkowski

Paperback | April 3, 2017

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A global education race now pits countries, regions, and school systems against one another. The racecourse has been created by a small number of influential international testing programs, and the popular media announces winners and losers. Fear of falling behind haunts policy-makers and shapes educational priorities around the world. But are we running in the right direction?

We all have a stake in education, and as informed citizens we need to understand the increasingly influential and controversial phenomenon of international testing and what it means for students and the future of our schools. The Global Education Race provides educators, parents, and policy-makers with a lively and accessible introduction to the most influential international testing program: PISA, the Programme for International Student Assessment, operated by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The authors draw on the latest research on assessment and education policy to provide a clear account of how the test works and to investigate PISA’s influence on educational goals and practice in schools around the world. The book aims to provoke informed debate about the role of testing, data, and comparison in educational change. Includes a foreword by David C. Berliner and Pasi Sahlberg.

Sam Sellar, PhD, is Reader in Education Studies at Manchester Metropolitan University and a member of the Board of Directors for the Laboratory of International Assessment Studies. Sam has studied school systems in Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom to explore how educational data shape policy and practice in schools. Greg Thom...
Title:The Global Education Race: Taking the Measure of PISA and International TestingFormat:PaperbackDimensions:120 pages, 7.5 × 5.5 × 0.25 inPublished:April 3, 2017Publisher:Brush EducationLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1550597116

ISBN - 13:9781550597110

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Read from the Book

Introduction: Running the wrong race?October 2013, Toronto. Sam, one author of this book, was late. He had a plane to catch and had just discovered that the Toronto Marathon was going to complicate the journey. The hotel concierge explained that the race was causing traffic jams and a taxi would not get him to the city airport on time. He needed to take the subway from Museum to Union and then transfer to a bus. He checked Google Maps and committed the directions to memory. Sam had visited Toronto several times and felt confident navigating the subway and downtown area. The problem was time; he had to be quick.It felt like an eternity waiting for the train, but it arrived on schedule and he was soon disembarking into busy Union station. But which exit did he need? He headed for Front Street but unwittingly found himself on the wrong corner. He followed the directions in his head, but he was starting from the wrong place and ended up trying to board a bus for the wrong airport. The driver pointed out his error but knew nothing about the bus he needed. He consulted Google Maps again and found his way to the correct corner. There was no bus. Time was running out. He decided to walk.Well, it was actually more like a half-walk, half-run, tending more and more toward the latter as he realized just how far he had to go to reach the ferry terminal for the airport, which is located on an island in Lake Ontario. As he headed toward the waterfront, he could see the crowds lining the marathon course. Making his way through the spectators, he had a sinking feeling as he realized they were cheering runners along Lake Shore Boulevard. He needed to cross Lake Shore Boulevard.Nearly 3,600 people completed the marathon that day, and it seemed that most were currently snaking along this part of the course in a human stream that was 15 people deep. The imminently departing ferry was visible in the distance. As he was sizing up his prospects for crossing the runners, someone offered advice: “The only way to cross safely is to run in the same direction and zigzag to the other side.” The image of Frogger, a popular 1980s arcade game, immediately came to mind. The airport was a few hundred metres ahead and slightly to the right. The runners were heading left. He picked up his suitcase and began running with them and through them. He had joined a race he did not want to be in, and he was running in the wrong direction from his goal.The ferry departed as Sam was making his way back toward the terminal. Years later he discovered there was also a pedestrian tunnel that he could have taken. It turned out that this was actually the most important piece of information. But at the time, he was so consumed with reaching his destination as quickly as possible that he didn’t explore alternatives. Sam missed the boat, and he also missed his plane.When we find ourselves in a race, we can become overwhelmed by the urgency of getting ahead without pausing to consider where we are going. This can result in a situation brilliantly illustrated by Monty Python’s famous Silly Olympics event: the 100-metre dash for people with no sense of direction. The runners assemble at the starting line after anxious preparations, the starting pistol is fired, and the runners veer off in all directions. No one heads toward the finish line and the commentator remarks, “Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?”It has become common to hear talk of a “global education race” that pits countries and school systems against one another. Fear of being left behind in this race now haunts policy-makers and school leaders around the world. Even though most of them did not choose to join the race, it is easy to be swept up in the urgency of getting ahead. The risk is that school systems may find themselves running in the wrong direction in pursuit of reforms that will not get them where they need to go. Having the right information is crucial. This short book provides key information about the global education race and international testing that will help educators consider where they should be going and whether racing is the best way to get there.

Table of Contents

Foreword: PISA—A good servant but a bad master, by David Berliner and Pasi Sahlberg
Introduction: Running the wrong race?
1. The PISA Racetrack
2. Stories
3. Rankings
4. Tests
5. Comparisons
6. Validity
7. Politics
Conclusion: Helping policy-makers find the right track

Editorial Reviews

The Global Education Race is a concise, yet thoughtful, pragmatic and well-referenced look at the role of large-scale international student testing. - Canadian Journal of Education