The OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) is often used as an indicator of how well an education system is performing. For example, in March 2021 Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge used PISA results to claim that the Australian education system is in decline.
However an article from Save Our Schools (SOS) published in November 2021 casts serious doubt over the reliability of PISA testing.
According the article, “New data published by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) call into question the accuracy and reliability of PISA and its league tables of country results.”
The article points to a major flaw in the testing; students know the PISA tests don’t affect their assessment, so their effort and motivation to do their best is low. The ACER data shows that almost half of the students who sat the test weren’t trying very hard. The data also shows this ‘student effort’ is variable across countries, and across demographic groups.