Is Canada Really an Education “Super-power”? The Evidence is not as Clear-cut as You Might Think…

Is Canada Really an Education “Super-power”? The Evidence is not as Clear-cut as You Might Think…

When the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) results are released every three years, it is now little surprise that a set of East Asian nations (e.g. Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea) dominate the top spots in these rankings. These nations typically substantially outperform most English-speaking Western nations, with one important exception – Canada. This has not gone unnoticed by policymakers and the education media. Indeed, after the release of the PISA 2015 results, Canada was described as an “education superpower” with various theories (from the strong academic performance of immigrants through to high levels of student motivation) put forward to explain this result. Indeed Andreas Schleicher – the man who has led the OECD’s PISA programme – suggesting that the strong commitment to equity in Canada is the key.

Are PISA Top-Performers also Good Citizens?

Are PISA Top-Performers also Good Citizens?

The education community across the globe is anticipating the release of the latest PISA rankings. These gauge the progress being made by 15-year-olds in reading, science and mathematics across a wide selection of developed and developing countries. One of the widely-acknowledged limitations of PISA as a measure of educational quality is that it covers only a limited range of outputs from an education system. There is hence a threat that, if countries focus efforts upon maximising performance in the PISA tests, then they may divert attention away from important (yet unmeasured) contributions of education to wider society. This includes, for instance, the development of morals and civic engagement. Indeed, in this blog we provide new evidence on the discrepancy between the performance of countries in PISA and children’s knowledge of civics.

Are teenagers in England addicted to social media? (And does it matter?)

Are teenagers in England addicted to social media? (And does it matter?)

Looking into whether evidence from PISA supports recent claims

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Where are the “Digital Natives”? Results from ICILS 2018

Wolfram Schulz & Julian Fraillon What is ICILS 2018 about? ICILS is a large-scale, international assessment of grade 8 students’ computer and information literacy and computational thinking skills. It addresses a question of critical importance: how well are students prepared for study, work, and life in a digital world? 46,000 students and 26,000 teachers from […]

Blackboard vs. Computers: It Depends on the Application

Blackboard vs. Computers: It Depends on the Application

Can the use of computers in the classroom take learning to a new level? The emergence of computer-based teaching methods has raised high expectations. Will the next generation of digital natives learn much quicker and better when technology is involved? Most previous studies have arrived at one surprising answer: No. Most scholars find little to no effect of classroom computers on student achievement.

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Does Home Computer Use Improve or Harm Children’s Reading Skills?

Monica Rosén & Jan-Eric Gustafsson Currently, there is much discussion about the effects of “screen time” and computer use on children’s learning and development. Opinions are divided, not only between children and their parents, but also between researchers who report contradictory findings. While some report positive effects on children’s development of knowledge and skills, others […]

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From Numbers to Meaning Through Comparisons Between Countries

Rolf V. Olsen & Sigrid Blömeke In an earlier blog, we established that international large-scale assessments can be regarded as powerful and influential knowledge sources for making claims about the quality of educational systems. Comparisons between countries have over time been one of the most dominant ways of interpreting the results coming out of the […]

It’s not only whether children read that matters. It’s also what they read (at least according to PISA)…

It’s not only whether children read that matters. It’s also what they read (at least according to PISA)…

John Jerrim It is widely considered important that young people read regularly. A wide range of previous research has linked reading during childhood to improved language skills and higher levels of academic achievement more generally. But does it matter what they choose to read? Does flicking through a magazine or reading a daily newspaper have […]

Does PISA Generate Better Policies for Better Immigrant Lives?

Does PISA Generate Better Policies for Better Immigrant Lives?

One of the most prominent messages on the OECD’s education platform is the tagline “better policies for better lives”. This message is clearly visible below the OECD emblem and is featured on every page of their website. One might naturally wonder if and how PISA results have indeed been used to improve the lives of immigrant students around the world.

Should Students Be Taught in Their Mother Tongue? Evidence from Catalonia

Should Students Be Taught in Their Mother Tongue? Evidence from Catalonia

Evaluating the effects of specific country / regional policies using large scale international assessments is a challenging task. This is primarily because this is not actually what they have been designed for. However, the rich data contained within the PISA background questionnaires can sometimes provide important clues for the direction that education policy should take. One such example from my home country is the Linguistic Immersion Policy (LIP) which has been operating in Catalonia since 1992.