The international testing race

Wondering how to make sense of those international comparisons of school success and student achievement? Most recently, it is the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results.

Jim Hull, an education policy analyst for the Center for Public Education, has put together some data and commentary that may help. For an overview, read: More Than A Horse Race: A Guide to International Assessments.

Hull’s report, NSBA says, “provides information on what these assessments actually measure, the results over time, and how the data should be interpreted.” There’s also a Powerpoint, a chat transcript, descriptions of several international assessments (with sample test items), and our favorite — a Fact or Fiction page, set up like an FAQ, which considers some common misconceptions about international testing.

For example, Hull says the criticism that “international comparisons are unfair since most other countries educate (and, therefore, test) only the best students while the United States educates and tests all its students” is fiction. On the other hand, the observation that “The rankings of overall average scores for each country do not show the full picture of each country’s education achievement” is fact. Read all the fact and fiction (at least from Hull’s point of view) here.