PISA, policy and persuasion: translating complex conditions into education 'best practice'

Euan Douglas AULD, Paul MORRIS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

47 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Education reform is increasingly portrayed as a means to improve a nation's global competitiveness as measured by its performance in international league tables of pupil achievement. This has created a demand for comparative research which identifies 'what works' in high-performing school systems. A diverse array of consultancies, thinks tanks, and entrepreneurs has emerged to satisfy that demand, portraying their approach as a pragmatic and objective form of evidence-based policy-making. However, the attempt to translate complex conditions into straightforward solutions (i.e. 'what works') leads researchers into a basic paradox. This paper identifies the strategies used to address this paradox and to advocate reforms. We demonstrate that, though they are persuasive, the strategies fundamentally fail to overcome the problems inherent in the enterprise. Copyright © 2016 Taylor & Francis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-229
JournalComparative Education
Volume52
Issue number2
Early online dateMay 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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persuasion
best practice
think tank
reform
demand
comparative research
school system
entrepreneur
competitiveness
pupil
education
pragmatics
performance
evidence

Bibliographical note

Auld, E., & Morris, P. (2016). PISA, policy and persuasion: translating complex conditions into education 'best practice'. Comparative Education, 52(2), 202-229. doi: 10.1080/03050068.2016.1143278

Keywords

  • PISA
  • Policy
  • Advocacy
  • 'What works'
  • 'Best practice'