The ‘learning’ tower of PISA

The PISA ‘scores’ have echoed around the world. Some results are improved, some are worse, some have stayed the same, some of us don’t care.

The Irish scores haven’t changed in over a decade and yet the last round of figures in 2009 was used to usher in a wave of change for panic’s sake in our schools. Now, though changes haven’t yet taken effect, our political leaders want us to do better so they can justify their under-resourced, ill-thought-through plans.

It’s all a sham. PISA is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t make sense to compare different groups of students from different backgrounds, doing a test that varies from place to place, with no external moderation and achieve uniform data. (I may have just described the Junior Cycle there by accident.)

What matters is the child in the classroom can get the most from the resources available to achieve whatever she wants with her education. What matters more than any ‘test score’ is that a child comes to school every day knowing he can be better at something, and know more by the end of the day, week or year. You can’t measure the freedom an education can give you, and you can’t standardise people.

You won’t hear politicians talking about that in the next few days.


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