UK school reforms to come under scrutiny as world rankings released

The quality of education in Britain’s schools will come under the microscope amid general election campaigning this week as the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) publishes new international rankings of the performance of 15-year-olds in core subjects. The Guardian reports

The timing of the OECD’s latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), which compares standardised test results in reading, maths and science across 79 countries, means any dramatic changes in the performances of pupils in England, Wales and Scotland is likely to become election fodder.

“There’s a clear story that will come out if England goes up or down. But even if it stays stable there’s a story where people could say: ‘Well, Michael Gove made all those reforms that were meant to raise standards but nothing’s changed’,” said John Jerrim, a professor of social statistics at UCL’s Institute of Education.

“With the Conservatives having been in power for nine years, most of the children taking part will have spent most of their time at school under Conservative or coalition governments. High scores or low, there will be spin put on that.”

Jerrim warns that the Pisa results are likely to show few shifts in the underlying performances of British pupils, no matter where they are taught.

He said there was also troubling questions about how the OECD arrives at its published scores for each country, using methodology he described as “a mysterious black box” that outsiders, including himself, had been unable to replicate.

Read the full article UK school reforms to come under scrutiny as world rankings released 

How much attention do you pay to the Pisa rankings? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin


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