Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Programme for International Student Assessment

Scientists love to measure, compare, rank. E.g. order the planets by size, how bright stars are in reference to our sun, etc. They also created ways to measure, compare, rank themselves. At the top you get nobel laureates. Before getting there a researcher publishes prestigious articles into Nature or Science. These articles must have a lot of influence over other scientists i.e. many other articles reference them. The same idea is used by Google to rank popular websites. If this blog is referenced by CNN's home page it will suddenly become much more important - at least until CNN switches to another major topic a few hours later. Note that my post referring to CNN does not do much to increase CNN's site ranking because this blog isn't considered an important referrer at this point...
Let's return to our topic of the day. Are you in college? If so you are familiar with evaluations. Is your teacher just as nervous about them as you are? International evaluations compare you to your peers from other countries. And important people will decide how much money to add or cut from the education budget of your schoolboard after they read the PISA executive summary. PISA stands for Programme for International Student Assessment.
There is more to education and science than evaluation tests. Don't discard them alltogether though. Take it as a challenge. Scientists also like - err, should like - to be challenged. One measurement isn't the whole truth but with no measurement there is no science.

All thirty countries are now celebrating or crying over the results of this study. Canada is quite happy. How about yours?

No comments: