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.

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