Understanding the PISA 2015 findings about science teaching

I have shared the following graphic a few times. It shows that frequent use of enquiry-based learning, as defined by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), is associated with worse scores on the science component of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). It is based upon surveying students about their experiences in […]

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Three myths about PISA

I have written a few posts about the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) and, in doing so, I have become aware of a number of myths that are linked to it. These are worth challenging because they get in the way of us taking anything useful from these results. The myths are: 1. We […]

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PISA data on discipline 

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 […]

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Has Eric Mazur read the PISA reports?

So, Eric Mazur, Harvard physics teacher, has been in Australia promoting his teaching method: ‘Peer Instruction’. It’s a variant of group work that rests on the assumption that some of the class know the answer to a question and so a teacher can leverage this in such a way that these students will teach the others. […]

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The media’s myopia on PISA

To me, the story was obvious. Whatever your view of the validity of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), there was clearly one newsworthy finding: the use of inquiry learning is associated with worse performance in science. This is newsworthy precisely because it is the opposite of what we often hear in the media. […]

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PISA is not a test of recall

I have had a number of responses to my posts about PISA from those seeking to dismiss the inquiry learning evidence. This one pithily summarises two of the main arguments that are made: “That fact that we assume PISA and other tests are still the best measure of learning is troubling. They typically focus on […]

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The narrative about PISA and equity is flawed

I am in favour of making Australia’s education system more equitable. To this end, I am convinced by the argument that we should target resources at students who are the most in need; an argument supported by the Gonski review. However, the idea that equity is the root cause of Australia’s absolute decline in achievement […]

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