Brookings calls European exam flawed
WASHINGTON - When it comes to measuring American students against students around the world, the National Governors Association and other groups have encouraged states to look at a European test used in 57 other countries.
But after scrutinizing the exam, the Brookings Institution has concluded it is seriously flawed.
The governors have urged states to compare the performance of US schoolchildren against tests including the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA. The idea is to borrow their best ideas to move American students forward in the global arena.
The Brookings study, however, said the PISA test goes beyond learning, to measure values and beliefs. For example, it asks students whether they favor laws that protect the habitats of endangered species. And it asks whether children favor electricity from renewable sources and regulation of factory emissions.
"These are political judgments," said Tom Loveless, the study's author. "For me as a citizen, before I would agree or disagree with any of them, I'd need to know more about them."
Along with test results, the Paris-based group that runs PISA issues dozens of policy recommendations, ranging from testing and accountability to school choice and universal pre-kindergarten. But Loveless pointed out several instances in which he said the group ignored data that contradicted its recommendations. And he noted the PISA test, which is given in high school, is not tied to school curriculum. That means PISA doesn't measure what schools teach; it measures real-world application.