Media coverage of PISA 2012: Evidence from pilot study in 20 countries

Oren Pizmony-Levy

Media coverage of PISA 2012: Evidence from pilot study in 20 countries
Pizmony-Levy, Oren
Presentations (Communicative Events)
International and Transcultural Studies
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A central premise of international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) – such as OECD’s PISA – is informing and enriching public discourse on education. Following the immense expansion of ILSAs, scholars have begun to explore reactions to these assessments through analysis of newspapers coverage. Most studies in this line of research rely on only one or two countries, yet employ a rich qualitative methodology. Thus, we know little about trends across large number of countries and the interaction between countries (e.g., externalization) as reflected in these news stories. In this pilot study I ask: How do newspapers filter and translate scientific and technical information – PISA - to the general public? The study seeks to contribute to the literature by examining newspapers coverage of PISA 2012 in 20 countries using a quantitative content analysis methodology. This methodology pays attention to the article as a whole and to the different speakers and their speech acts. For each country, we collected and coded 10 articles (from two or more sources) that were published in the week following the release of PISA. The analysis point to three emerging themes. First, newspapers offer very limited information about PISA; only one-third (32%) of stories discuss the methodology behind PISA, and more than three-quarters (78%) of stories present simple rankings (versus other, more informative indicators). Second, we find much variation across countries with respect to tone and speakers. For example, while in Spain close to half (45%) of speakers are affiliated with the academia, in Spain half of the speakers are affiliated with the Ministry of Education. Third, using network analysis, we find that top performers (e.g., Shanghai and Finland) are referenced more than other countries (see Appendix A). In the full paper, we further examine and test different explanations for these patterns. The document includes PowerPoint slides with key findings from the pilot study as well as a copy of the media analysis protocol developed for this study.
Programme for International Student Assessment
Educational evaluation
Journalism, Educational
Foreign news
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
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Suggested Citation:
Oren Pizmony-Levy, , Media coverage of PISA 2012: Evidence from pilot study in 20 countries, Columbia University Academic Commons, .

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