How to correctly traverse the international data line

Numbers are interesting, but they need context, writes Christian Bokhove

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Every few years, we are treated to a barrage of articles detailing how countries are performing in international studies such as Pisa (Programme for International Student Assessment), Pirls (Progress in International Reading Literacy Study) and Timss (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

The reaction in political terms depends on how the country is doing: did it perform relatively well? If so, then ascribe this to policy changes. Did the country do relatively poorly or was there a decline? Blame the previous government and use it as a reason for implementing your favoured ...

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