Pisa takes a curious turn

28th June 2013 at 01:00

The performance of the UK in Pisa tests has often been used to justify a narrowing of the curriculum and a move towards increased teaching of knowledge. I now read in TES that the scope of Pisa tests may be widened to embrace the skills that underpin real learning.

Sheila Lawlor dismisses the proposals, saying: "Trying to measure things like creativity ... is not a sensible task." She completely misses the point. Only testing things that are easy to measure means that we will only teach what can be measured. So, will we encourage students to be creative? Will we teach them to be curious? In the near future, the answer will of course be "no" as we can't easily measure them.

One of the key things betrayed in Ms Lawlor's comments, and in education secretary Michael Gove's admiration of the Pisa chief, is that Pisa is considered to be good because it supports the worldview held by the current regime. When it no longer does this, it will be dismissed like many other education experts and like the vast majority of our profession.

Of course knowledge is important but what we know is just a very small section of the whole. Therefore, how we learn and how we are must be considerably more important.

Chris Mallaband, St Mark's Church of England Academy, Mitcham.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now