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OECD Deputy Director for Education to speak about global tests for school students


5 July 2013

Launched in 1997 by the OECD, the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is an international study that aims to evaluate worldwide education systems by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students.

Large-scale student assessments such as PISA, as well as the National Assessment Program: Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), are promoted by governments and education systems as important for student and national development - as well as important for guiding educational and social policy.

Australia's Federal Government, for example, has set a goal for Australia to improve its PISA ranking by becoming one of the top five nations in reading, maths and science by 2025.

However, critics of PISA, which is administered by the OECD, and other large-scale assessments, suggest these tests can excessively commodify education, do not sufficiently allow for cultural nuances and valuing of different educational contexts, constrain curriculum and cannot meaningfully differentiate countries in its rankings.

Andreas Schleicher, the Deputy Director for Education to the OECD Secretary-General, will present a special Sydney Ideas public lecture in collaboration with the Faculty of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney on Friday, 5 July 2013 that will address such concerns and explain the purposes and limitations of the PISA test for schools and governments.

In his talk, 'PISA and other large-scale student assessments. What are they for, what do they yield, and can we do better?' Mr Schleicher, who is also Skills and Special Advisor on Education Policy at the OECD, will explore how assessments such as PISA (and NAPLAN) may be more effectively applied in the future.

Professor Andrew Martin, from the Faculty of Education and Social Work will introduce Mr Schleicher.

"PISA is not as high stakes as NAPLAN in that there is no consequence to the school or the student because the test is anonymous," he said. "It is just a snapshot, or a random sample of Australian, 15-year-olds.

"But every three years there is a league table created and Australia is ranked so we can see how we are doing in relation to other countries. So you could say it is high stakes on a national level, whereas NAPLAN is high stakes for the teacher, the student and the school."

Students representing more than 70 countries and economies have participated in the assessment, including Australia.


Event details

What: PISA and other large-scale student assessments. What are they for, what do they yield, and can we do better?; A Sydney Ideas talk by Andreas Schleicher, the Deputy Director for Education to the OECD Secretary-General.

When: 4.30 to 6pm, Friday 5 July

Where: Foyer, New Law Building, Camperdown Campus

Cost: Free, registration required

Book now online


Contact: Jacqueline Chowns

Phone: 02 9036 5404; 0434 605 018

Email: 3b4e120b4534001108136f0c202d2d1d3774020920194a2c482d5c37493005