OXFORD STUDIES IN COMPARATIVE EDUCATION

PISA, Power, and Policy

the emergence of global educational governance

Edited by HEINZ-DIETER MEYER & AARON BENAVOT

2013 paperback 336 pages US$56.00
ISBN 978-1-873927-96-0

 
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About the book

Over the past ten years the PISA assessment has risen to strategic prominence in the international education policy discourse. Sponsored, organized and administered by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), PISA seems well on its way to being institutionalized as the main engine in the global accountability regime.

The goal of this book is to problematize this development and PISA as an institution-building force in global education. It scrutinizes the role of PISA in the emerging regime of global educational governance and questions the presumption that the quality of a nation’s school system can be evaluated through a standardized assessment that is insensitive to the world’s vast cultural and institutional diversity. The book raises the question of whether PISA’s dominance in the global educational discourse runs the risk of engendering an unprecedented process of worldwide educational standardization for the sake of hitching schools more tightly to the bandwagon of economic efficiency, while sacrificing their role to prepare students for independent thinking and civic participation.

Contents

Heinz-Dieter Meyer & Aaron Benavot. Introduction. PISA and the Globalization of Education Governance: some puzzles and problems

Taya L. Owens. Thinking beyond League Tables: a review of key PISA research questions


THE FINLAND PARADOX
Janne Varjo, Hannu Simola & Risto Rinne. Finland’s PISA Results: an analysis of dynamics in education politics

Tiina Silander & Jouni Välijärvi. The Theory and Practice of Building Pedagogical Skill in Finnish Teacher Education

Paul Andrews. What Does PISA Performance Tell Us about Mathematics Teaching Quality? Case Studies from Finland and Flanders


PISA, INSTITUTIONS, AND THE GLOBALIZATION OF
EDUCATION GOVERNANCE
David H. Kamens. Globalization and the Emergence of an Audit Culture: PISA and the search for ‘best practices’ and magic bullets

Daniel Tröhler. The OECD and Cold War Culture: thinking historically about PISA

Marlaine Lockheed. Causes and Consequences of International Assessments in Developing Countries

Sam Sellar & Bob Lingard. PISA and the Expanding Role of the OECD in Global Educational Governance


NON-EDUCATIONAL INFLUENCES ON PISA OUTCOMES
Heinz-Dieter Meyer & Kathryn Schiller. Gauging the Role of Non-educational Effects in Large-scale Assessments: socio-economics, culture and PISA outcomes

Xin Ma, Cindy Jong & Jing Yuan. Exploring Reasons for the East Asian Success in PISA

Jaap Dronkers & Manon de Heus. Immigrant Children’s Academic Performance: the influence of origin, destination and community

Yong Zhao & Heinz-Dieter Meyer. High on PISA, Low on Entrepreneurship? What PISA Does Not Measure

Stephen P. Heyneman. The International Efficiency of American Education: the bad and the not-so-bad news


POLICY
Alexander W. Wiseman. Policy Responses to PISA in Comparative Perspective

Notes on Contributors; Index

Contributors

PAUL ROBERT ANDREWS, PhD, Manchester Metropolitan University, is Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Stockholm, Sweden. He has written extensively on cross-cultural analyses of mathematics teaching and the impact of teacher beliefs on classroom practice. His most recent publications include a chapter in the edited volume Mathematical Knowledge in Teaching and articles in the Journal of Mathematical Behavior, Comparative Education Review and ZDM. A recent (2011 2012) President of the Mathematical Association, he is also a member of the editorial boards of Research in Mathematics Education and the Cambridge Journal of Education.

AARON BENAVOT, PhD, Stanford University, is a Professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Policy Studies at SUNY-Albany, USA, with interests in global education policy and comparative education research. Previously, he served for four years as a senior policy analyst on the Education for All Global Monitoring Report team at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. As part of UNESCO’s education sector, he focused on the areas of literacy, education for sustainable development, quality learning enhancement and lifelong learning. He is currently the editor or co-editor of five professional journals. His publications list includes three books, two edited volumes, 14 book chapters, five published reports, and more than 25 journal articles.

MANON DE HEUS has a Master’s degree from the University of Tilburg, Netherlands and is now a freelance writer and journalist. Her prior experience includes serving as a researcher and teacher at Tilburg University, where she taught courses on Inequality and Family Relationships.

JAAP DRONKERS, PhD, Free University of Amsterdam, is currently Professor of International Comparative Research at Maastricht University, Netherlands and previously occupied chairs at the University of Amsterdam and the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence. His publications focus on a wide range of topics, including the causes and consequences of unequal educational and occupational attainment, changes in educational opportunities, effect differences between public and religious schools, the educational and occupational achievement of migrants, the linkages between school and the labor market, and the effects of parental divorce on children. He edited Quality and Inequality of Education: cross-national perspectives (Springer, 2010).

STEPHEN P. HEYNEMAN served the World Bank for 22 years. Between 1976 and 1984 he helped research education quality and design policies to support educational effectiveness. Between 1984 and 1989 he was in charge of external training for senior officials worldwide in education policy and between 1989 and 1998 he was responsible for education policy and lending strategy, first for the Middle East and North Africa and later for the 27 countries of Europe and Central Asia. In 1998 he was appointed vice-president in charge of international operations of an education consultant firm in Alexandria, Virginia. In September 2000 he was appointed Professor of International Education Policy at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, USA. He received his BA in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, his MA in African Area Studies from UCLA in 1965, and his PhD in Comparative Education from the University of Chicago in 1976.

CINDY JONG, PhD, Boston College, is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education in the STEM Education Department at the University of Kentucky, USA. Her research interests include measuring teachers’ conceptions of mathematics teaching and learning along with examining teachers’ conception of teaching mathematics for social justice. She is a developer of the Mathematics Experiences and Conceptions Surveys (MECS), designed to longitudinally examine teachers’ conceptions.

DAVID HUNT KAMENS, PhD, Columbia University, is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at Northern Illinois University, USA and was a research professor at George Mason University, Fairfax, USA, from 2006 to 2009, studying women in science. He is the author of numerous papers on the topics of sociology of education and political sociology. His publications include a forthcoming book, Knowledge for the Masses (co-authored with John Meyer and Aaron Benevot), Beyond the Nation State: the reconstruction of nationhood and citizenship (Emerald Press, 2012), and The Evolution of the American State and Polity, 1950-2005 (co-authored with R. Jepperson).

BOB LINGARD, PhD, University of Queensland, is a professorial research fellow in the School of Education and the Institute for Social Science Research at the University of Queensland, Australia. He previously held the Andrew Bell Chair in Education at the University of Edinburgh. Bob has published widely in sociology of education. His recent books include Changing Schools (with Terry Wrigley and Pat Thomson; Routledge, 2012); Globalizing Education Policy (with Fazal Rizvi; Routledge, 2010); and Educating Boys (with Wayne Martino and Martin Mills; Palgrave, 2009). He is editor of the journal Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. Bob is a former president of the Australian Association for Research in Education and is a fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, Australia.

MARLAINE E. LOCKHEED, PhD, Stanford University, served at the World Bank for 19 years, initially as a research sociologist with interests in education effectiveness, equity and quality and later holding senior management positions with responsibilities for education policy and lending for the 14 countries of the Middle East and North Africa and for the evaluation of the World Bank’s training programs for senior officials worldwide. She was previously a principal research sociologist at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, NJ, where she directed research on gender and education. She has been a visiting fellow at the Center for Global Development, a visiting professor at Harvard, Stanford, Princeton and the University of Texas, and a member of various journal and advisory boards. She is author or editor of 80 chapters and journal articles, four journal special issues and seven books, including Improving Primary Education in Developing Countries and Exclusion, Gender and Education: case studies from the developing world.

XIN MA, PhD, University of British Columbia, is a Full Professor in the College of Education at the University of Kentucky, USA and a Spencer Fellow of the United States Academy of Education. His research interests include the psychology of mathematics education, school effectiveness and improvement, and program evaluation. He is the author of two books and seven book chapters, and he has authored or co-authored more than eighty articles in a variety of academic journals. His recent publications focus on technology in the mathematics classroom (Educational Psychology Review) and within-school gender gaps in reading, mathematics, and science literacy (Comparative Education Review).

HEINZ-DIETER MEYER, PhD, Cornell University, is Associate Professor of Education and Organization, State University of New York (SUNY) Albany, USA. His more than forty articles, book chapters and edited volumes focus on organizations, new institutionalism and education governance. He has been a Harman Fellow at Harvard University and a Visiting Scholar at Peking University, Penn State, and the East-West Institute in Honolulu, among others. Recent publications include articles on institutional design in Comparative Sociology (2012), on colonization of public education in Educational Philosophy and Theory (2010), and on dilemmas of decentralization in American Journal of Education (2009). He is also the editor, with Brian-Rowan, of The New Institutionalism in Education (SUNY Press).

TAYA L. OWENS, doctoral candidate, University at Albany, SUNY, USA, currently works as a research assistant at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she worked as a research and planning analyst for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and as a legislative assistant to the Tennessee General Assembly. She began her career in educational policy in the classroom, as an English instructor at the Zaporozhsky Institute of Economics and Information Technologies in Ukraine and Ferghana State University in Uzbekistan.

RISTO RINNE is a professor of education and director in the Department of Education at the University of Turku, Finland. He is also the director of the Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Education (CELE) in the University of Turku as well as the director of the Finnish Graduate School in Education and Learning (FiGSEL). His main interests and publications include sociology of education, international comparative education, educational policy, citizenship and learning in the knowledge society, and history of education. He has also published many articles and books in the field of transmission and building the educational knowledge base in Europe.

KATHRYN SCHILLER, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Administration & Policy Studies at the University at Albany, USA. She is also affiliated with the Department of Sociology, the Center for Social & Demographic Analysis, and the Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy. A sociologist trained at the University of Chicago, her research explores the role of schooling in the development of human capital, focusing on how organizational structures and social networks shape individuals’ developmental trajectories. An article in the Journal of Marriage & Family found that the academic advantages of living with both parents are greater in more affluent countries using the Third International Mathematics and Science Study.

SAM SELLAR, PhD, University of South Australia, is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Education at the University of Queensland, Australia. Sam has also been a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Australian National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, hosted by the University of South Australia. His research focuses on contemporary developments in schooling and higher education policy. He has recent publications in the the Journal of Education Policy, Comparative Education and Discourse: studies in the cultural politics of education. He is an associate editor of the journal Critical Studies in Education.

TIINA SILANDER is the Head of the Teacher Education Department at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She has worked at the Department of Teacher Education as a Senior Assistant of Science Pedagogy since 2006. Prior to that, she worked in the Institute for Educational Research in the research group for Assessing Learning Outcomes. Within teacher education Dr Silander is responsible for planning and development of both primary teacher and subject teacher education.

HANNU JAAKKO SIMOLA, PhD, University of Helsinki, is a professor of sociology at Helsinki University, Finland. He is a member of the board of the Doctoral Programme of Comparative Research on Educational Policy, Economy and Assessment and of the Finnish Graduate School in Education and Learning and serves as head of the research group focusing on new policy, politics, and the governance of education. His recent publications include The Finnish Miracle of PISA: historical and sociological remarks on teaching and teacher education and Trans-national Technologies, National Techniques, and Local Mechanisms in Finnish University Governance.

DANIEL TRÖHLER, PhD, University of Zurich, is Professor of Education and director of the research unit for socio-cultural research on learning and development titled Languages, Culture, Media, and Identities, and of the Doctoral School in Educational Sciences at the University of Luxembourg. He is also a visiting professor of comparative education at the University of Granada, Spain. His latest publications include the AERA Outstanding Book of the Year, Languages of Education: Protestant legacies, national identities, and global aspirations (Routledge, 2011), and Schooling and the Making of Citizens in the Long Nineteenth Century: comparative visions (with Thomas S. Popkewitz and David F. Labaree; Routledge, 2011). He served as guest editor of the journal Studies in Philosophy and Education for the 2012 Special Issue (volume 31, no. 5), Historicising Jean-Jacques Rousseau: four ways to commemorate his 300th anniversary.

JOUNI ENSIO VÄLIJÄRVI, PhD, University of Jyväskylä, is a professor of educational research and Docent at the University of Oulu, Finland and Director of the Institute for Educational Research. As an expert in the evaluation of educational systems, he serves as National Project Manager in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). He publishes extensively in journals related to Finnish education and research-based teacher education. His most recent journal article, ‘Teachers’ Professional Skills and Research-based Teacher Education for the Future’, appears in the Korean Journal of Teacher Education.

JANNE VARJO, PhD, University of Helsinki, is a post-doctoral researcher working at the University of Helsinki, Finalnd, and more particularly within the New Politics, Governance and Interaction in Education research unit (KUPOLI) at the Institute of Behavioural Sciences. His current research interests are in applying the ideas of governance of compulsory education at the sub-national level and the political economy of education. He is currently working on a three-year post-doctoral project, ‘Travelling Policies and Embedded Politics – an Analysis of Dynamics of Local Education Politics’, funded by the University of Helsinki.

ALEXANDER W. WISEMAN, PhD, Pennsylvania State University, is Associate Professor of Comparative and International Education in the College of Education at Lehigh University, USA. His research and publications focus on internationally comparative analyses of national educational systems, technology use in schools worldwide, the transition from school to work, gender and education, and institutional approaches to comparative education. His work has appeared in Compare, Prospects, Educational Researcher, Research in Comparative and International Education, and the Comparative Education Review. He is the editor of the Annual Review of Comparative and International Education (Emerald Publishing, 2013) and senior editor of the online journal FIRE: Forum for International Education in Research (http://preserve.lehigh.edu/fire/).

JING YUAN is a doctoral student at the Department of Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology at the University of Kentucky. Prior to her doctoral studies, she worked as a research assistant for a large-scale project on Students’ Academic Achievement Evaluation (SAAE) sponsored by the Ministry of Education, P.R. China. Her research interests include psychology of science education, school effectiveness, and advanced data analysis of large-scale surveys.

YONG ZHAO, PhD, University of Illinois, currently serves as Chair and Associate Dean for Global Education in the College of Education, University of Oregon, where he is also Weinman Professor of Technology and Professor in the Department of Educational Measurement, Policy, and Leadership. His works focus on the implications of globalization and technology on education. He has published over 100 articles and 20 books, including Catching Up or Leading the Way: American education in the age of globalization and World Class Learners: educating creative and entrepreneurial students.
 

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