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International Assessments of Student Achievement and Public Confidence in Education: Evidence from a Cross-National Study

Pizmony-Levy, Oren; Bjorklund, Jr., Peter

One of the overarching goals of international large-scale assessments (ILSA) is to inform public discourse about the quality of education different countries. To fulfill this function, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), for example, raises awareness of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) results through different forms of traditional and social media (e.g., press releases and other activities under the slogan PISA Day). Scholars have responded to the rapid growth of ILSA by examining public discourse through newspapers articles, policy documents, and other outlets. However, we know very little about whether and to what extent the general public is actually affected by PISA results. This article expands the range of stakeholders that engage with PISA by exploring public opinion. Specifically, the study uses data regarding public trust in education from the 2011 wave of the International Social Survey Program (ISSP). Drawing on survey data from 30 countries and Hierarchical Linear Models (HLM), the study shows that PISA ranking have a significant effect on public perceptions. After taking into account gross domestic product (GDP), we find that in high performing countries the general public expresses higher levels of confidence in the education system. We discuss these patterns in the context of growing politization of education policy making and the use of ILSA as evidence.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
International and Comparative Education
Published Here
August 15, 2017