PISA data on discipline 

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So I’m still working my way through some of the findings from the 2015 Programme of International Assessmemt (PISA). PISA don’t just run assessments of knowledge and skills, they also survey students on a range of matters. I’ve already written about the association between inquiry learning and science performance and the association between perceptions of feedback and science performance.

Students were also asked about their perceptions of the disciplinary climate in science lessons and the results are pretty interesting. From a range of questions about levels of noise and disorder and whether students followed the teacher’s instructions, the statisticians created an index of disciplinary climate. Positive values reflect a better climate than the OECD average. 

As you might expect, countries such as Japan, Korea and Hong Kong are in the top ten. Perhaps surprisingly, so is the United States. In contrast, the United Kingdom and Australia both rank well below the OECD average. The U.K. result seems to be at odds with Ofsted evidence that generally finds few discipline problems in schools. We have to wonder which gives a more accurate picture, anonymous student self-reports or the results of a pre-announced, high stakes inspection. 

Not surprisingly, in virtually all countries, a higher score on the PISA index was associated with better science performance. 

PISA also surveyed principals about their views on school climate and it’s interesting to contrast the two sets of data. For instance, U.K. principals report a relatively low rate of students lacking respect for teachers. Perhaps different groups of stakeholders have different levels of expectations.


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