Journal Menu
Submit Manuscript via ScholarOne

EURASIA Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education
Volume 11, Issue 1 (February 2015), pp. 111-127

DOI: 10.12973/eurasia.2015.1310a

Downloaded 1421 times.

Research Article

Published online on Jul 02, 2016

How to reference this article?


PISA and Global Educational Governance – A Critique of the Project, its Uses and Implications

Svein Sjøberg

The PISA project has steadily increased its influence on the educational discourse and educational policies in the now 70 participating countries. The educational debate has become global, and the race to improve PISA-rankings has become high priority in many countries. For governments the PISA-test is a high-stake test. Governments are blamed for low scores, and governments are quick to take the honour when results are improving. National curricula, values and priorities are pushed aside. The influence of PISA is of high importance also for science educators; the battle to improve test results may conflict with our work to make science relevant, interesting and motivating for the learners. This article tries to unpack some of the challenges and to raise some of the problems caused by PISA as a global measure of quality.

Keywords: comparative studies, educational policy, globalization, OECD, PISA-test, standardization 

  1. Alexander, R. (2012). Moral Panic, Miracle Cures and Educational Policy: what can we really learn from international comparison? Scottish Educational Review 44 (1), 4-21. 
  2. Arffman, I. (2007). The problem of equivalence in translating texts in international reading literacy studies. A text analytic study of three English and Finnish texts used in the PISA 2000 reading test (Research Reports 21). Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä, Institute for Educational Research.
  3. Arffman, I. (2010). Equivalence of Translations in International Reading Literacy Studies, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 54(1), 37–59.  
  4. Ball, S.J. (2012). Global education Inc: New policy networks and the neo-liberal imaginary. London: Routledge.
  5. Bergesen, O. H. (2006). Kampen om kunnskapsskolen (Eng: The fight for a knowledge-based school) Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 
  6. Bybee, R., & McCrae, B. J. (2011) Scientific Literacy and Student Attitudes: Perspectives from PISA 2006 science, International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 7 — 26. 
  7. EU (2007). Science Education Now: A renewed pedagogy for the future of Europe, (The Rocard report), European Commission, Brussels: EC. 
  8. Grek, S. (2009). Governing by numbers: the PISA ‘effect’ in Europe. Journal of Education Policy, 24(1), 23-37. 
  9. Hopmann, S.T., Brinek,G. & Retzl, M. (Eds.) (2007) PISA zufolge PISA – PISA According to PISA, LIT Verlag, Berlin 
  10. Jenkins, E. W. (2009). Reforming school science: a commentary on selected reports and policy documents, Studies in Science Education, 45(1), 65-92. 
  11. Kjærnsli, M. & Lie, S. (2011). Students’ preference for science careers: International comparisons based on PISA 2006. International Journal of Science Education, 33(1), 121–144. 
  12. Kjærnsli, M., Lie, S., Olsen, R. V., & Roe, A. (2007). Tid for tunge løft. Norske elevers kompetanse i naturfag, lesing og matematikk i PISA 2006. [Norwegian PISA report] Oslo: Universitetsforlaget. 
  13. Kreiner, S & Christensen, K. B. Bang (2013). Analyses of Model Fit and Robustness. A New Look at the PISA Scaling Model Underlying Ranking of Countries According to Reading Literacy. Psychometrika, June 2013  
  14. Lawn, M & Grek, S (2012) Europeanizing Education: Governing a new policy space. Symposium Books 
  15. Loveless, T. (2009). How well are American students learning? The Brown Center Report on American Education, 2(3). 
  16. Lundgren, U. P. (2011) PISA as a Political Instrument in Pereyra, M.A., Kotthoff, H.G and Cowen, R (Eds.) PISA Under Examination. Changing Knowledge, Changing Tests, and Changing Schools. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. 
  17. Meyer , H. D et al. (2014). Open letter to Andreas Schleicher on PISA.   (, accessed 15. Oct. 2014).  
  18. Meyer, H.D & Benavot, A. (Eds) (2013). PISA, Power and Policy: the emergence of global educational governance, Oxford: Symposium Books. 
  19. Møller, J.& G. Skedsmo (2013). Modernising education: New Public Management reform in the Norwegian education system, Journal of Educational Administration and History, 45(4), 336-353. 
  20. OECD (1999). Measuring Student Knowedge and skills. A New Framework for Assessment. Paris: OECD Publications. 
  21. OECD (2001). Knowedge and skills for life. First results from PISA 2000. Paris: OECD Publications.
  22. OECD (2006a). Assessing Scientific, Reading and Mathematical Literacy, A framework for PISA 2006. Paris: OECD Publications.  
  23. OECD (2006b). Evolution of Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies, Policy Report from OECDs Global science forum.  
  24. OECD (2007a). PISA 2006: Science competencies for tomorrow's world Vol 1 Analysis. Paris: OECD Publications.  
  25. OECD (2007b). Education at a Glance Paris: OECD Publications.  
  26. OECD (2008). OECD Economic Surveys, Norway Volume 2008/13. Paris: OECD Publications.
  27. OECD (2009). PISA 2006 Technical Report  Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  
  28. OECD (2010a). PISA 2009 Results: What Makes a School Successful? Volume IV Paris: OECD Publications. 
  29. OECD (2010b). PISA computer-based assessment of student skills in science. Paris. OECD Publications. 
  30. OECD (2013a). PISA 2012 Assessment and Analytical Framework: Mathematics, Reading, Science, Problem Solving and Financial Literacy, Paris: OECD Publishing. 
  31. OECD (2013b). PISA 2012 Results in Focus. What 15-year-olds know and what they can do with what they know. Paris: OECD Publishing 
  32. OECD (2013c). OECD Skills Outlook 2013: First Results from the Survey of Adult Skills. Paris: OECD Publishing.
  33. Osborne, J, & Dillon, J (ed) (2008). Science Education in Europe: Critical Reflections A Report to the Nuffield Foundation, King’s College London
  34. Popkewitz, T. (2011). PISA: Numbers, Standardizing Conduct, and the Alchemy of School Subjects. In Pereyra, M.A., Kotthoff, H.G and Cowen, R (eds.) PISA Under Examination. Changing Knowedge, Changing Tests, and Changing Schools. Rotterdam: Sense.
  35. Pereyra, M. A., Kotthoff, H.-G., & Cowan, R. (eds). (2011). PISA under examination: Changing knowledge, changing tests, and changing schools. Rotterdam: Sense.
  36. Ravitch, Diane (2011). The Death and Life of the Great American School System. How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books
  37. Rinne, R (2008) The growing supranational impacts of the OECD and the EU on national education policies and the case of Finland, Policy Futures in Education, 6, 665–680
  38. Sjøberg, S. (2007). PISA and "Real Life Challenges": Mission Impossible? In Hopmann, S.T., Brinek,G. & Retzl, M. (Eds.) (2007) PISA zufolge PISA – PISA According to PISA, LIT Verlag, Berlin 
  39. Steffen B. & C Hößle (2014). Decision-making Competence in Biology Education: Implementation into German Curricula in Relation to International Approaches. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science & Technology Education, 2014, 10(4), 343-355.
  40. Tienken, C. (2008). Rankings of International Achievement Test Performance and Economic Strength: Correlation or Conjecture? International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 3(4).