Bookmarked The PISA Illusion (Education in the Age of Globalization)

PISA successfully marketed itself as a measure of educational quality with the claim to measure skills and knowledge that matters in modern economies and in the future world. Upon closer examination, the excellence defined by PISA is but an illusion, a manufactured claim without any empirical evidence. Furthermore, PISA implies a monolithic and espouses a distorted and narrow view of purpose for all education systems in the world. The consequence is a trend of global homogenization of education and celebration of authoritarian education systems for their high PISA scores, while ignoring the negative consequences on important human attributes and local cultures of such systems.

In response to the latest release of PISA results, Yong Zhao highlights some of the problems associated with the program. This includes concern about what is measured and the purpose of education. For more on the representation of PISA, read Aspa Baroutsis and Bob Lingard.

In addition to this piece, Zhao also wrote a series of pieces exploring some of the pecularities within the data, including why a growth mindset does not work for Chinese students, the problems with culture-free results, and the relationship between fear based learning and student results.

Bookmarked Robotics – The Greatest Thing Since Sliced Peace? : Stager-to-Go

A reporter for an Australian education magazine recently sent interview questions about robotics in education, including the obligatory question about AI. The final article, when it runs, only grabs a few of my statements mixed in amongst the thoughts of others. So, here is the interview in its entirety. Of late, I have decided to answer all reporter questions as if they are earnest and thoughtful. Enjoy!

Gary Stager is one of those writers, speakers, thinkers who always gives more than is asked. I am always left think about things differently. In those collection of thoughts, he comments on global measurement:

International education comparisons are immoral and needlessly based on scarcity. In order for Australian students to succeed, it is unnecessary for children in New Zealand to fail. Competition in education always has deleterious effects.

Always sharp and to the point.

Another great example of Stager’s insights is this interview on the Modern Learners podcast:

Bookmarked “We Measure What we Value and We Value What we Measure” – Maybe Not by an author (Etale)

We measure some of the things that we value, but there are many things in our lives that we hold in high regard, but we do not find it necessary to quantify and measure. In addition, there is a persistent danger that our focus upon measuring can detract or distract from something more valuable. Furthermore, sometimes our fixation on a specific approach to measuring blinds us from the bigger picture. Each of these have important implications for our schools and learning communities.

Bernard Bull argues that sometimes what we value cannot actually be measured. This reminds me JL Dutant’s question as to whether the solution to too much testing is more testing. For danah boyd we need to break with the addiction to stats feed by big data.
Replied to Celebrating the things we don’t measure (a macgirl in a pc world)
  • how much more my students now speak in weekly literature circle discussions and how well prepared they are for what they want to say;
  • how engrossed they are in reading and how invested they are in the characters they identify with;
  • the quality of their questioning and the deep thinking they do about what they read, identifying themes, ideas and wonderings that hadn’t occurred to me;
  • their heightened understanding of how certain text types can be very powerful and really get things done, as seen through the number of them wanting to write to different levels of government after our parliamentary excursion;
  • their confidence in managing their own learning and identifying their own goals, inside and outside of the classroom;
  • their growing time and resource management skills that now see some of them much more able to find the key items they need at the start of the day and end the day feeling organised;
  • the coping strategies they have developed to deal with their own times of stress or anxiety and which they now avail themselves of without any need for a reminder from me;
  • the empathy they have developed towards not only each other but towards fellow human beings in the world beyond our classroom, as evident in the ideas they have about how they can improve their world for everyone’s benefit.
I remember a few years ago, when the new review process came in, I made every effort to stretch what the notion of data. Most teachers just fell into line with the simplicity of one years growth for one years teaching. Although ‘growth’ is important, to only focus on the summative feels like it misses something.