Opinion
Assessment Letter to the Editor

Where Is PISA Headed?

February 26, 2019 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

I wish to clarify certain points made in the exchange of views concerning the Program for International Student Assessment that was recently published in Education Week. I refer specifically to Michele Bruniges response (“Let’s Embrace PISA’s Success”) to my concerns about how PISA was in danger of becoming a victim of its own success (“Is PISA a Victim of Its Own Success?”).

The United States—a supporter of PISA from its inception—agrees that PISA is an important yardstick by which countries can measure their educational success. It is true that governments and policies change but the U.S. commitment to PISA has not.

Certainly, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan played an active role supporting and using PISA. Our current U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is also supportive of PISA. She has used PISA results to help inform her recent visits to high-performing countries, such as Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands.

To be clear, it is not the case that the United States is losing interest in PISA or reducing its support for PISA. Nor is the United States’ concern for PISA driven by politics.

We continue to believe in the importance of PISA, which is exactly why we are suggesting changes to enhance and strengthen its quality. We strongly believe that the existing three-year cycle is an expensive anachronism, given advances in testing technology. And we believe that more attention has to be paid to research and development for PISA to continue to be a strong and vibrant assessment.

There is a long history in the PISA Governing Board regarding the testing cycle. But, along with many other countries, the United States believes that we must recognize the impact on PISA of advances in technology, the growing concerns about quality control, and the high costs/burden of the three-year cycle on participants. These issues are too important—and the associated technical work and planning too complex—to wait until 2021 to discuss.

Mark Schneider

Director

Institute of Education Sciences

U.S. Department of Education

Washington, D.C.

A version of this article appeared in the February 27, 2019 edition of Education Week as Where Is PISA Headed?

Events

English-Language Learners Webinar Helping English-Learners Through Improved Parent Outreach: Strategies That Work
Communicating with families is key to helping students thrive – and that’s become even more apparent during a pandemic that’s upended student well-being and forced constant logistical changes in schools. Educators should pay particular attention
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Addressing Unfinished Learning in Math: Providing Tutoring at Scale
Most states as well as the federal government have landed on tutoring as a key strategy to address unfinished learning from the pandemic. Take math, for example. Studies have found that students lost more ground
Content provided by Yup Math Tutoring
Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Assessment Data Young Adolescents' Scores Trended to Historic Lows on National Tests. And That's Before COVID Hit
The past decade saw unprecedented declines in the National Assessment of Educational Progress's longitudinal study.
3 min read
Assessment Long a Testing Bastion, Florida Plans to End 'Outdated' Year-End Exams
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the state will shift to "progress monitoring" starting in the 2022-23 school year.
5 min read
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks at the opening of a monoclonal antibody site in Pembroke Pines, Fla., on Aug. 18, 2021.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said he believes a new testing regimen is needed to replace the Florida Standards Assessment, which has been given since 2015.
Marta Lavandier/AP
Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment in 2021
In this Spotlight, review newest assessment scores, see how districts will catch up with their supports for disabled students, plus more.
Assessment 'Nation's Report Card' Has a New Reading Framework, After a Drawn-Out Battle Over Equity
The new framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress will guide development of the 2026 reading test.
10 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty