At my request, Pasi Sahlberg has written comments on the latest international test scores. Sahlberg is a prominent Finnish educator and author of the award-winning book "Finnish Lessons."
International testing mania
This week educators around the world got a new opportunity to benchmark their students’ performance to their international competitors when The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) released the results of TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) mathematics and science of 63 countries and PIRLS (Progress in Reading Literacy Study) in 48 countries.
First, how is it possible that different international studies that compare education systems by having a particular look at students’ learning outcomes lead to such different results? Who is right? What do these studies really tell us? Second, are these studies in the end really able to inform policy-makers and guide education reforms in coherent ways so that teachers and students would have better opportunities to succeed? Do they help politicians to understand the nature of human learning?