One report, multiple perspectives. Educational assessment (Part 2)

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In this post I will deal with the PISA 2012 report as analysed by different media. It is my purpose to show how one single report can be interpreted from different perspectives depending on the source of information we are using. Let’s start!

PISA 2012 and the UK. I googled these words and came across a BBC article describing PISA results. The main worry here is that the UK is falling behind other countries and it is no longer a member of top lists. The Chinese educational system seems to produce more fruitful results and it is seen as a powerful rival. As the information is focused on top or bottom countries, Spain does not even appear…

What about top PISA country, Finland? Its interpretation of the test is very similar to the one carried out by the UK. They also consider their scores have declined dramatically and are concerned about the reasons why this has happened. In fact, the article I read mentions that it is important to get all the educational community involved in improving school quality, and highlight the importance of motivating students and making schools learning-friendly. No doubt their vision of education as something that goes beyond the classroom walls and their awareness of children’s needs and emotions make them be at the very top, no matter what PISA says this time.

And what about Spain? The digital edition of the newspaper ABC analysed the report emphasising that Spain is scoring below average in Maths, reading comprehension and Science. However, later in the article they mention that, in comparison with PISA 2003, students are scoring similarly in Maths and have improved in the other two areas.

In the same line, El Pais presents us with a ranking where Spain is in the bottom part of the list. Concerning the reasons why we are failing, and they state that improving is almost impossible, they report on opinions given by stakeholders who mention teachers and schools, although they do not indicate how to improve these scores.

Finally, the newspaper EL Mundo argues that Spain’s low scores can be explained because of the lack of investment in education. PISA results are considered a failure and a shame for Spain (literal words translated). They are also concerned about the educational level young people reach, as many of them only hold basic qualifications.

What’s my view after this analysis? Quality in education is a culture, and I consider that Spain has much work to do to make people aware of their part in this. It is not a question of blaming teachers or official budgets, it is everybody’s responsibility. We won’t change this in a day, but I bet that if we start the movement working hand by hand with educational centres, teachers and teacher education undergraduates, quality will be an everyday must-have.

What do you think about this? How is PISA viewed in your country? You can also follow this discussion here: @preguntasPISA

Sources:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-25187997
http://www.minedu.fi/OPM/Tiedotteet/2013/12/pisa.html?lang=en
http://www.abc.es/sociedad/20131203/abci-informe-pisa-espanoles-201312031110.html
http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2012/01/28/espana/1327772278.html
http://sociedad.elpais.com/sociedad/2013/12/03/actualidad/1386063448_866928.html

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Image taken from infotecarios.com

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2 thoughts on “One report, multiple perspectives. Educational assessment (Part 2)

    Carmen Aguado said:
    November 21, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    As an English language teacher my point of view is clear, Spain needs to wake up and be aware of its lack of level in any foreign language. The core of the problem roots on its co-oficial languages apart from Spanish. I agree that keeping our Historical Memory is important but not at the expense of cutting down budgets to improve availabilities for other cultural issues such as Foreign Languages , which are so necessary nowadays to get a job.

      teachingtoteach responded:
      November 26, 2014 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Carmen, thanks for your comment. It is true that we need to improve students’ communicative competences (and I believe the situation is already changing), but I can’t see how co-official languages can be responsible for this lack of abilities. Quite the contrary, I believe that regions where more than language is used are in advantage compared with monolingual regions. From my point of view, language awareness is richer in those contexts and, therefore, the teaching/learning of a L3,4… is easier and more integrated.

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