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Morning Video: Schleicher!


Don't believe a word this man is saying. He's obviously not from America. You can tell by his name (Andreas Schleicher), his accent, and his bright snug, colored shirt. And, he's talking about differences among nations in terms of education achievement, which, you know, is almost never a good thing to talk about.  People get mad.  (via Amanda Ripley).


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The world is better off because PISA exists; but people tend to listen to Andreas Schleicher too uncritically. As usual, the problem isn't so much with what he includes as with what he leaves out. Most critically, education does not stop at 15; and I have concluded that, at least in my opinion, attainment trumps achievement; and several of his "highest performing systems" (including most spectacularly the Chinese) have in fact inferior attainment, so that large numbers of the students leave the system shortly after the age when the PISA tests are taken. For example, Australia's median PISA score is only 517, compared with Hong Kong's 560, so one would be tempted to praise the latter and ignore the former, as Mr. Schleicher regularly does; but students in Australia stay in school for about two years longer than the average student in Hong Kong, and so are likely to have attained more total education, which they can put to use for the many long years of their adult lives, than can that average Hong Kong student, whose higher teenage scores may later prove uncompetitive in the adult job market.

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