Literacy and numeracy report: What the academics said

 

Professor Robert Coe, from Durham University:  “This seems to underline the view that improvements in GCSEs and some other examinations have had more to do with grade inflation than real sustained improvements over time.”

Sir Michael Barber, Labour’s education guru in the Tony Blair government and now chief education adviser to Pearson: “The result (of the PISA tests) is that education ministers and officials around the world now engage in continuous dialogue about education reform.  None can afford to ignore the mounting evidence of what works and what doesn’t.”

Professor Alan Smithers, Centre for Education and Employment research, University of Buckingham said on the Education Media Centre's website:  “It is disappointing that the UK’s 15-year-olds should come as far down the PISA tables but is it the fault of the schools? So many other things affect the scores.  In the Asian countries that do so well, there are tiger mothers and a lot of out-of-school tuition.”

Harvey Goldstein, Professor of Social Statistics, University of Bristol, said on the Education Media Centre's website: “Michael Gove claims that England’s mediocre ranking is the fault of Labour education policies to which current 15-year-olds were subjected and Tristram Hunt claims that the results show that England needs to emulate high ranking countries such as Singapore.  In reality, both interpretations are fallacious.

“What has often been termed ‘PISA shock’, leading to ‘PISA panic', has accompanied past releases and politicians of all persuasions, in many countries and abetted by OECD, have used the ‘evidence’ about movements up and down the tables to justify changes they wanted to make anyway to their own educational curricula and assessment systems.”

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