Another international test. Another predictable call for more rigor. Is that the real story?

Lauren Williams's picture
Thursday, December 5, 2013

There’s a lot of fanfare around Tuesday’s release of the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) scores, including a PISA day webcast featuring U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Angel Gurria, secretary-general of the group that administers the international benchmark test, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

But Economic Policy Institute research associates Martin Carnoy and Richard Rothstein urge caution in interpreting the scores and in embracing the woe-is-the-United States narrative they contend will naturally follow.

They deem PISA Day "an ideological and hyperventilated exercise" and argue that the data are too complex to understand on a first reading and require a far more thorough review. Moreover, they maintain that the scores do not tell the story that will likely be put forth Tuesday by Duncan and the advocacy groups behind PISA Day.

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