Monday, April 13, 2015

Sweden and Finland lost PISA ground, not that it matters

The latest scores show that Sweden and Finland, the Scandinavian masters of education, did not fair nearly as well on their PISA exams.  You probably won’t hear about this because the whole “Scandinavia is better than you at educations” fad is so last few year.  That and the fact that PISA is not quite the meter stick that people have made it out to be. 

Check this out.

“Top of the list this year was Shanghai, whose students placed highest across all three areas. The four Asian Tigers -  Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taipei - were not far behind, with regional neighbours Macao and Japan also performing well.”

You do know that three of those locations are cities in China, right?  Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Macao are all locations that actually exist in the People’s Republic of China.  Singapore, Japan, and South Korea do not; and Taipei (my guess is that this is Taiwan, not the the capital city) is either a part of China or it isn’t depending on who you ask. 

Measuring China using these three locals is like measuring the Bay Area using Los Altos, Campbell, and Moraga; the results are going to be insanely spectacular but nowhere near the reality because the rest of the region is missing in action.  If we continue to use PISA scores (which we shouldn’t) then I want to know the overall scores of the entirety of mainland China, including those areas where schools totally suck because the headmaster doesn’t have the guanxi to suck up to the local politicians.  I want the good, the bad, and the ugly of everyone, not some measurement that says that the entire United States (or Sweden and Finland) don’t match up to a city in China where poor and rural kids have absolutely no chance of attending a public school, even if the family moves there and works as internal migrant labor (helllooooooooo Shanghai).

Just dump the damn PISA and call it even.

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