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PISA testing regime under fire from education experts

PISA testing regime under fire from education experts around the world

New Zealanders are among the 120 leading academics and teachers from 12 countries who have written an open letter criticising the negative educational impact of the OECD’s PISA tests.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Judith Nowotarski said governments – including New Zealand - were placing too much importance on the tests that ranked student results from more than 60 countries, and using the results to justify wide-ranging reforms to education that were often detrimental to students and teachers.

“These academics are rightly concerned about the way PISA’s three-year assessment cycle has created a scramble of short-term fixes to help countries climb the rankings. Positive and enduring changes take many years to show results – far longer that the average electoral cycle,” she said.

“The PISA tests measure such a narrow sliver of the curriculum, but if all the emphasis is going to be on reading, maths and science results, our children are going to be deprived of the richness of a well-rounded education.”

“Education should be about developing creative thinkers and life-long learners, not multiple-choice test-taking experts. The most important aspects of education can’t be measured.”

Ms Nowotarski supported the signatories’ call to skip the next round of PISA testing so time could be taken to discuss concerns and deliberate on a new and improved assessment model.

“There are so many variables involved in student success. National Standards unfairly creates ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ schools with no bearing on outside influences affecting achievement. PISA does the same, but on a global scale, with ‘winner’ and ‘loser’ countries.”


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